When to Plant Summer Flowering Bulbs

Mention bulbs and most think of hosts of golden daffodils or triumphant tulips bringing welcome colour to gardens as spring breaks after a dormant winter.


But there is a selection of summer flowering bulbs which also produce an array of stunning and colourful blooms. Dahlias, lilies, eucomis, crocosmia and begonia are among favourite summer flowering bulbs and with good reason. All produce impressive displays of delightful flowers in a wide variety of blooms and colours.


Other favourites include agapanthus – also called the lily of the Nile - with its stunning display of flowers and the proud and impressive gladioli. Freesias, alliums and polianthes are also popular and they never fail to impress and captivate.


The beauty of bulbs is once planted, they usually come back year after year like reliable friends.


But if you want to make the most of summer flowering bulbs, now is the time to get to work.


It is best to start planting out these bulbs from now until early April. The sooner you plant your bulbs, the sooner they will flower.


Summer bulbs can be planted when they are still dormant without roots, leaves or flowers once the soil has started to warm up. However, it is advisable to wait until the danger of frost has passed.


Most summer flowering bulbs are sun worshippers so should be planted in well-drained, moist soil in a spot which enjoys full sun. However, if you have a shady garden or a balcony or patio area, there are bulbs such as classic begonias and the appealing martagon lilies which will grow in partial shade.


Most summer bulbs originate from hot climates and need at least 13C to start to grow. A good quality compost and organic matter will also encourage growth and maximum blooms.


A rule of thumb is to plant bulbs at two or three times their depth (although dahlias prefer to be closer to the surface) and the bulbs should be planted with their pointed end upwards.


They should be spaced about twice their width apart and the hole then gently filled in with soil and compost. A bit of watering will encourage growth.


Bulbs can be planted in borders, containers and pots, as well as in the lawn or under shrubs, wildflower meadows or around the base of trees and they will naturalise over the years to create a natural, free flowing look.


Joyous plants which are easy to maintain – what more could a gardener wish for?


Please note that individual planting information is on each pack of bulbs.