Summer Bulbs at Their Best

Glorious summer flowering bulbs are so easy to grow and have beautiful blooms. Several varieties like Dahlias and Nerines will start flowering come August and September. Caring for your summer flowering bulbs at just the right time keeps the plants blooming and looking their best.

Here are a few simple tips to help you enjoy seasonal summer blooms!

During sizzling hot summer weather, your summer flowering bulbs will appreciate being watered in the early morning. This enables plants to better endure the heat of the sun during the day.  Watering in the evening also allows water to drain into the soil and reach the roots of the plant without too much loss due to evaporation.

Many summer flowering bulbs can be grown in containers as well as flower beds and mixed borders. If you’re growing summer bulbs in containers ensure the soil never dries out, and that there are bottom holes allowing for good drainage of excess water.

Removing spent flowers allows the summer bulbs to continue to put their energy toward generating new flowers, instead of seeds. When you remove spent flowers and thicken seed pods, let foliage remain to allow the plant to recharge, developing starches and sugars for the next year’s blooms. Leave the stalks of lilies standing when removing spent flowers to nourish the bulbs below ground for the following season. When a plant’s foliage turns yellow or goes limp, you’ll know it’s done feeding for the season.  At this point trim the foliage to the ground.

Dahlias can flower right up to the first hard frost, and depending upon your location across Canada, can last through October. Flower buds often appear in threes, especially on dahlias. Keep the main bud and remove the smaller side buds. This process is called ‘disbudding’ and it allows a bigger flower to form at the main bud.

Summer bulbs flourish in sunny locations, when planting look for places in the garden that receive full sun. Avoid planting summer bulbs in hot spots, such as up against a southern-facing wall that receives full sun throughout the day. When planting also consider the height of mature plants. Plant bulbs that grow into tall plants towards the back of the border, while bulbs that grow into shorter plants can be close and upfront.

Florissa’s Tip

Perennializing Bulbs vs. Naturalizing Bulbs: What’s the Difference? A perennializing bulb means that the bulb behaves like a perennial. It will return to flower for two to three seasons, and may even increase in size, or multiply underground. Naturalizing bulbs on the other hand will return year after year, set seed and multiply, spreading out into the garden. This is a process that can take three to five years to achieve desired results.

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