Warm Weather, Warm Soil, Plant Bulbs

Unassuming brown blobs become the jewels of a summer garden.

| April 10, 2009

  • Begonia bulbs are tubers that produce billiantly colored flowers.
    Begonia bulbs produce brilliantly colored blooms.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Gladioli come in stunning colors.
    Gladioli come in stunning colors.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • A summer bulb medley.
    This summer bulb medley includes Oriental Lily 'Sorbonne' (pink), Oriental Lily 'Dizzy' (white/pink), Eucomis bicolor (green spires), Liatris (purple spikes), Dahlia 'Park Princess' (pink spiky flowers) and Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic' (black leaves).
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Begonias are one of the few brilliantly colored summer flowers to bloom all season long in deep shade or filtered sunlight.
    Begonias bloom all season long in deep shape or filtered sunlight.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Begonias bloom all season long.
    Begonias bloom all season long.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Calla blooms are fabulous all summer long.
    Calla blooms are fabulous in containers or in the garden.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Calla blooms are funnel shaped and surprisingly long lasting.
    Calla blooms are funnel shaped and surprisingly long lasting.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Callas were once available only in white or pink; now they are red, orange, yellow, rust, lavender, pale green, gold and near-black.
    Callas are now available in a wide range of colors.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Calla bulbs are rhizomes, officially known as Zantedeschia.
    Calla bulbs are rhizomes and officially known as Zantedeschia.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Canna bulbs are rhizomes best planted in full sun or partial shade.
    Canna bulbs are rhizomes best planted in full sun or only partial shade.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Cannas look tropical and are natural vertical accents for any garden.
    Cannas look tropical and are natural vertical accents for any garden.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Eremurus bulbs
    Eremurus bulbs may look strange, but they produce a beautiful plant.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Dahlias take center stage from mid-summer through the first frost.
    Dahlias take center stage from mid-summer through the first frost.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Eremurus bulbs are tuberous roots, with six, 10 or more finger tubers arrayed like spokes of a wheel.
    Eremurus bulbs have six, 10 or more finger tubers arranged like spokes of a wheel.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Dahlia bulbs are tubers that produce an endless array of blooms.
    Dahlia bulbs are tuders that produce an endless array of blooms.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Eremurus is a winter-hardy perennial best planted in the fall.
    Eremurus is a winter-hardy perennial best planted in the fall.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Eremurus is a 4- to 5-foot-tall spiky plant commonly called foxtail lily.
    Commonly called foxtail lily, the Eremurus grows into a 4- to 5-foot-tall spiky plant.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Eucomis bulbs offer a tufted pineapple effect.
    Eucomis bulbs offer a tufted pineapple effect.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Gladioli stand tall, with orchid-like blooms upright on a spear.
    Gladioli stand tall, with orchid-like bloom upright on a spear.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Eucomis bulbs sprout the tall, tufted pineapple lily, and grow well in gardens or pots.
    Eucomis bulbs sprout a tall, tufted pineapple lily, and grow well in gardens or pots.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Gladiolus bulbs are round and tidy corms.
    Gladiolus bults are round and tidy corms.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Lilies perform best in full sun and partial shade, and can be planted either in fall or spring.
    Lilies perform best in full sun or partial shade, and they can be planted either in spring or fall.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Lily bulbs are unusual looking with fleshy overlapping scales.
    The unusual-looking lily bulb has fleshy, overlapping scales.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Plan to plant your summer bulbs this year.
    Plan which summer bulbs to plant this year.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Plant summer bulbs in late spring and early summer.
    Plant summer bulbs in late spring or early summer.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Planting summer bulbs could include elephant ears, carex and mums.
    Your summer planting could include elephant ears, carex and mums.
    courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center

  • Begonia bulbs are tubers that produce billiantly colored flowers.
  • Gladioli come in stunning colors.
  • A summer bulb medley.
  • Begonias are one of the few brilliantly colored summer flowers to bloom all season long in deep shade or filtered sunlight.
  • Begonias bloom all season long.
  • Calla blooms are fabulous all summer long.
  • Calla blooms are funnel shaped and surprisingly long lasting.
  • Callas were once available only in white or pink; now they are red, orange, yellow, rust, lavender, pale green, gold and near-black.
  • Calla bulbs are rhizomes, officially known as Zantedeschia.
  • Canna bulbs are rhizomes best planted in full sun or partial shade.
  • Cannas look tropical and are natural vertical accents for any garden.
  • Eremurus bulbs
  • Dahlias take center stage from mid-summer through the first frost.
  • Eremurus bulbs are tuberous roots, with six, 10 or more finger tubers arrayed like spokes of a wheel.
  • Dahlia bulbs are tubers that produce an endless array of blooms.
  • Eremurus is a winter-hardy perennial best planted in the fall.
  • Eremurus is a 4- to 5-foot-tall spiky plant commonly called foxtail lily.
  • Eucomis bulbs offer a tufted pineapple effect.
  • Gladioli stand tall, with orchid-like blooms upright on a spear.
  • Eucomis bulbs sprout the tall, tufted pineapple lily, and grow well in gardens or pots.
  • Gladiolus bulbs are round and tidy corms.
  • Lilies perform best in full sun and partial shade, and can be planted either in fall or spring.
  • Lily bulbs are unusual looking with fleshy overlapping scales.
  • Plan to plant your summer bulbs this year.
  • Plant summer bulbs in late spring and early summer.
  • Planting summer bulbs could include elephant ears, carex and mums.

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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