Many bulb gardeners overlook the beautiful summer flowering bulbs because of the popularity of the spring bulbs. Here are plants to extend the bulb garden season.
Using ornamental summer bulbs in the garden gives gardeners the chance to extend the plant palette and create seasonal focal points around a perennial backdrop of woody and ornamental shrubs. These three summer bulbs offer a variety of color, shape and floral appeal to the bulb garden or mixed border.
Allium Bulbs – Ornamental Onion for Large, Round Flower Clusters
Many gardeners are beginning to appreciate the rise in popularity of these ornamental onion plants (related to edible alliums like onions and chives) because Alliums are now available in a wide variety of sizes. The flower clusters appear each summer on the end of tall, upright flower stalks and can range in height from ten inches to five feet tall.
Alliums are generally purple, but cultivars are available in white, lavender, blue and pink. Plant alliums with other summer blooming bulbs in the early spring. Allium plants tend to be more hardy than other summer bulbs like dahlias and gladiolas so many bulb gardeners treat them as perennial additions to the garden landscape.
Iris Plants for Summer Bulb Garden Blooms
While some irises are spring flowering bulbs, there are several varieties of iris plants that bloom in the summer months as well. Some of these include the Japanese water iris, the flag iris, and the so-called stinking iris. Many of these summer iris bulbs are relatively hardy perennials and not always dug up to store during the winter.
As far north as zones 5, bulb gardeners can treat some iris plants as perennials. The irises can often be observed naturalized well in large mass plantings along ditches, fence rows and old homesteads. Plant divisions in the fall, or very early spring when new growth is just beginning.
Lily (Lilium) Plants for Summer Bulb Color
There are several types of summer blooming lilies, including daylilies, trumpet lilies, Asiatic lilies and more. One thing they all have in common is that they are relatively easy to grow, and bloom throughout the early to late summer months with large, attractive flowers that add a wide variety of color to any perennial garden space.
Lilies are also hardy summer bulbs and are generally treated as perennials in the garden. Daylilies seem to be the most drought tolerant of the lilies. The available heights vary greatly from about six inches to five feet depending on the cultivar specifics so gardeners should always check labels carefully when making summer bulb buying decisions.
These summer bulbs can be layered into a perennial garden or bulb garden with other flowering plants to increase the overall effect and prolong the color show in the garden landscape.