You may remember my recent posts about our back yard makeover. Well I am currently sourcing many zinc containers to plant up. Worried that I may have missed the deadline for planting blubs, as most well-known bulb plants need to be planted in the autumn for a springtime blooming. But, while it is true, I am glad to see that there are a plethora of late-flowering bulbs that can be planted now for a splash of summer colour.
Summer flowering blubs include canna lilies, calla lilies, dahlias, and gladioli. They are often overlooked as most people associate spring with a time of flowering and growth, as opposed to a time when you should be planting. Here is a little round up some of the best and brightest summer bulbs that you can plant in containers this spring, as well as giving you some helpful hints on their care.
Dahlias are attractive plants that are available in a range of colours, shapes, and sizes. They also have a strong ability to grow very well in containers, which makes them an excellent choice for gardeners with limited space. Planted in spring, they flower from midsummer to the first frosts of winter, which means you will be able to bask in their beauty for a huge part of the year.
Dahlias require a container that is at least 15–20 inches in diameter, with bulbs that are planted 4–6 inches below the surface. As different types of dahlia grow to different heights, you may need to adopt different strategies for planting in containers. For taller varieties, try to keep them to their own individual pot, while smaller varieties can be combined into larger containers. Dahlias should be kept in 8–10 hours of sunlight per day and watered so that the soil remains slightly moist. Balcony Container Gardening has an excellent article on growing dahlias, with specific advice on helping them to thrive in containers.
Canna lilies are some of the most flamboyant plants that you can grow in your containers. They grow to a great height and boast magnificent tropical-looking flowers, so you will need to make sure that you have the room and the right aesthetic in your garden to accommodate them. You will need a large container to home these lilies, with a pot of at least 15-–18 inches in diameter required for healthy growth.
You can grow canna lilies outdoors from spring to summer, and they like plenty of sun and moisture, so find a nice spot to place their container. The best time to plant the bulbs is after the last frost in spring has ended, after which they should be placed in 3–6 inches of soil. If you are planting more than one, make sure they are placed a foot or two apart. You can find detailed care guidance as well as advice on wintering them for bloom next year on the Royal Horticultural Society website.
Calla lilies are sleek and elegant — a lot different to their showier namesakes the canna lily. They are one of the most popular flowers for weddings due to their tasteful flowers, and you can enjoy the look of them in your home by planting them this spring. Many people opt for white calla lilies, but they also come in a variety of other shades that can bring colour to your garden.
These lilies should be planted about 3 inches below the soil’s surface in a medium-to-large–sized container. You should place your calla lilies in partial-to-full sunlight, and you should keep the soil in the pot moist at all times, watching out for dark leaf tips that can indicate over watering. You can also pot them with other plants without a problem as long as they share the same light and watering requirements.
The gladiolus is a summer-flowering plant that blooms in tall spikes of colour that are ideal for brightening your home. They take quite a while to show their true selves and are not particularly attractive until they do, but once they do you will not regret the wait for their vivid flowers. As gladioli can grow 3–4 feet tall, it is important to choose a large pot to allow them to take a firm root in the soil. Make sure the pot has excellent drainage to avoid rotted bulbs, and plant them 3–5 inches under the soil. Gladioli love the light, so be sure to choose a sunny spot for them.
While there are specific care guidelines that should be followed for each plant, there are a few general rules to planting spring bulbs that you should stick to as well. Wyevale Garden Centres has published a detailed guide on planting and caring for summer-flowering plants that you should read. It also has ideas for different looks that can be achieved in your garden.
Personally, I am going for a white and pale pink colour scheme in my garden transformation. Cafe au lait dahlia’s are a must. LOOK AT THEM! swoon.
Collaboration Note: This post was written in partnership with the Wyevale Garden Centres. Thank you for supporting the partnerships that make this blog possible.
Image via Pinterest.
Lou Archell, a writer, photographer, stylist and founder of Littlegreenshed. A UK lifestyle & travel blog
Lou is also a busy mum of two amazing boys and the founder of Sisterhood Camp – an annual creative retreat for recharging and empowering brilliant ladies, Lou is passionate about supporting and inspiring others whether through her workshops, writing, photography or lifestyle hacks.