Summer flowering bulbs, corms and tubers can add colour and interest to the garden at a time when most of the Spring flowering plants have finished.
They can be used to add height to Summer flowering bedding plants, used on their own in small groups or as a mass display. Growing them in containers and hanging baskets give good results. Many of the low-growing varieties are ideal for rockeries and many of the taller growing types can be used as cut flowers.
Essentials: * Spade and fork * Hand trowel * Bulbs, corms or tubers in season * Potting compost * Containers * Grit or sharp sand * Supports * Liquid fertilizer
Good soil preparation by digging to a depth of at least 23cm (9in) will aid establishment and help keep the bulbs or corms well drained and prevent the possibility of them rotting.
On heavy soils such as clay where drainage may be poor, digging in sharp or grit sand to the planting area and placing a little under each bulb, corm or tuber will help prevent rotting.
Feed with a liquid fertilizer just as the flowers are drying - this will build up reserves of plant food which in turn will help form the flowers for next year's display.
Bulb depth: 25mm (1")
Plant: Feb-May indoors, June outdoors
Bulb depth: 12cm-15cm (5"-6")
Height: 45cm-120cm (18"-4')
Bulb depth: 10cm-15cm (4"-6")
Plant: March-May indoors
Height: 25cm-135cm (10"-4.5')
Bulb depth: 25mm (1")
Plant: Jan-March indoors only
Height: 15cm-30cm (6"-12")
Some bulbs may require protection in Winter in all but the most sheltered of gardens and therefore growing in containers and overwintering in a greenhouse or conservatory may be the best way to handle these.
With the exception of Gladioli and Dahlias, most can be left in the soil over Winter to flower for many years.
For bulbs that need to be dug up after flowering wait until the foliage has turned yellow and dried off naturally. Store in a dry, frost and rodent free place over Winter then replant in the following Spring.
By checking the information on the packaging the various characteristics of the bulb, corm or tuber needs will be known.
The taller growing varieties, in paticular Gladioli, Lilies and Dahlias will require short stakes, canes or supports to prevent damage to their graceful flower spikes.
A selection of popular summer-flowering bulbs