Carol Siddall, Master Gardener
When we think of summer color, very few of us think bulbs. We love the spring bulbs like tulips and daffodils, but summer bulbs can add interest after the spring bulbs are gone.
Summer bulbs can fill the gaps in your garden when early flowering perennials have finished blooming. Like their sisters the spring bulbs, summer bulbs are incredibly easy to grow. Some like the shade and others will like the hot summer sun. Dr. William Welch, Texas A & M AgriLife Extension horticulturist says, “bulbs are a good fit for today’s garden because they are low water and low care plants”.
These bulbs will add color, texture, and height. Even if you have a tiny garden, such as a patio or an apartment, you can achieve the look of an exotic location. Containers are a wonderful place to plant bulbs. I have 40 caladium bulbs waiting to be planted now. Be sure you note if they are shade or sun loving before you plant them.
I plant many summer bulbs, but my favorites are caladiums. Although they flower, caladiums are grown for their foliage. These bulbs can be planted in mass for a large space of color in your garden or in containers. They come in a variety of colors – red, pink, green and white. In our USDA hardiness zone 8b, you will have to dig them in the fall and let them go dormant. If you have lots of shade, this is a good bulb for you.
Another summer favorite is the dahlia. It is a “tuber” that generally blooms from midsummer to the first frost. They range in color and size. They make a great cut flower also.
Other summer bulbs and tubers are cannas, gladiolas, elephant ears, lilies, alliums, and some begonias. If you haven’t tried summer bulbs, this is a good time. For questions call the AgriLife offices at 432-498-4071 or 432-686-4700.