Warm Weather, Warm Soil, Plant Bulbs

Unassuming brown blobs become the jewels of a summer garden.

| April 10, 2009

Danby, Vermont – When it's time to plant out tomatoes, it's also the right time to plant summer bulbs. Once the weather and soil have warmed up locally, tender plants will be raring to grow.

All tender bulbs are warm weather-lovers, including dahlias, begonias, cannas, gloriosa lilies, caladium, tuberose, tigridia, pineapple lilies, elephant ears, callas, nerines, oxalis and others. No nippy nights or frosty morns for these tender bulbs which tend to languish or die where cold air and cold soil inhibits growth. When soil has warmed to 60° F (15.5° C) or more, it’s primetime for bulb growing outdoors.

Gardeners can plant bare bulbs outdoors or buy them already pre-grown as bedding plants from garden retailers. Early birds who started up summer bulbs indoors in pots can put them in the garden now, too.

Time for Summer Sparklers

Some of summer’s fanciest flowers start the season as unassuming brown blobs. These homeliest of plant structures are bulbs, roots, rhizomes, tubers and corms. Their transformation from odd-shaped lumps to exquisite flowers is an ugly duckling tale for the garden.

Among the best-known summer bulb plants are lilies, callas, begonias, gladioli, dahlias, tuberose, pineapple lilies, caladiums, elephant ears, cannas and more. Some are known for their flowers, others for their exotic foliage. All are considered jewels of the summer garden for the roles they play all season long.

From the Netherlands Flower Bulb Center in Danby, Vermont, comes a look at some of summer’s best-loved bulb flowers and the various odd-looking blobs that produce them.

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