lily

Summer blooming gardens offer a rainbow of beautiful, fragrant blossoms that are a true feast for the eyes. But planting annual flowers every year takes a lot of time and work, and so making space for perennial bulbs in your flower beds will take you one step closer to a hassle-free garden to enjoy and show off. The window for planting summer flowering bulbs is soon closing, so get your dahlias, gladiolas and oriental lilies in the ground now!

Summer flowering bulbs can be planted as soon as the last estimated frost date in your area has passed, but before the heat sets in (usually before mid-June in Northern US). If you live in Canada or the Northern US, check with your local nursery or flower expert about cultivars of summer flowering bulbs that can take hard overwinter freezes. Curing and storing the bulbs may be necessary if you live in a colder climate. We’ve provided you with instructions and tips on how to grow our 3 favorite summer flowering bulbs below:

1. Dahlia
 dahlia-ccflcr-JD-Richards

Site: Dahlias love sun and need well drained soil, so choose a south facing, slightly sloped spot in your garden.
Soil: Dahlias are big feeders, and so need a lot of food when planting the bulbs, as well as during the first and second growing seasons. Make sure to have compost and some bone meal mixture at hand when planting.
Planting: Plant your bulbs about 4-6 inches deep, depending on the size of the cultivar. Make sure to dig your hole a little deeper than the planting depth and place some plant food on the bottom. Plant the bulb with the eye facing upward and cover with soil.
Watering: Water the bulb once right after planting, but don’t water again until the green growth reaches about 4 inches in height. After this water on a regular basis.
Care: Slugs love dahlias, so bait them with beer or other methods to keep your foliage pretty. You can mulch around the plant to keep the roots cool and moist through the summer. Deadheading spent blossoms will keep your plant producing beautiful new blooms all summer long.

2. Gladiola
gladiola-ccflcr-audreyjm529 

Site: Gladiola varieties are also sun lovers, so south-facing, well-drained spots are ideal.
Soil: Light, humus-rich soil is best for gladiolas. They don’t need much feeding but a 2-inch layer of compost at the bottom of the hole when planting is a good idea.
Planting: Plant gladiola corns 4 to 8 inches deep with the pointed end facing up and cover with soil. Taller varieties should be staked during planting, making sure not to damage the corns.
Watering: Water the plants moderately to daily dependant on the amount of rainfall you get during the summer. Lightly mulching the plants will help retain moisture.
Care: Deadhead spent blossoms throughout the summer and cut the whole stalk off at the end of the season. Look out for thrips and aphids, both of which can be controlled by removing leaves and using homemade pest remedies.

3. Oriental Lily
lily-ccflcr-Jim-the-Photographer 

Site: Lilies like “their head in the sun and their feet in the shade”, so choosing a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade is best.
Soil: Most cultivars prefer slightly acidic and loamy soil that is not too rich in nitrogen. Add some peat moss to clay soil.
Planting: Be careful when handling lily bulbs, as the scales can easily break off the sides of the bulb. Plant the bulbs 4 to 6 inches deep with some compost at the bottom of the hole, and cover with soil.
Watering: Water right after planting and continue to water regularly. Lightly mulching the plants will help retain moisture.
Care: Feed your lilies with organic fertilizer as soon as the green shoots begin to appear. As with dahlias and gladiolas, deadheading throughout the season and removing flower stalks at the end of the season will offer breathtaking blooms all summer long. 

Images: Myrtle Glen Farm, F.D. Richards, audreyjm529, Jim the Photographer