Here we are! Spring has finally sprung and we are shipping out all the beautiful bulbs and seeds you have ordered over the winter. They are now ready to be planted in you gardens and pots! How exciting!
You will feel elated when you start planting and visualizing how your garden or home will look once the bulbs start to bloom.
We thought that there would probably be no better time than this to share a few tips on how to plant your lovely summer flowering bulbs.
Summer-flowering bulbs add drama to your garden from late spring right into fall. They are often tall, showy plants that have rich colors and make great cut flowers. Summer flowering bulbs have a way of illuminating borders and creating wonderful container garden displays. And like all bulbs, they are also very easy to grow. Simply put them in the ground and leave them to it!
However, there are some tips you can use to ensure bigger and healthy flowers. We will address planting the gorgeous dahlias our favorite flower here at Flower Power Fundraising, the ever so sweet lilies, the delicate irises, and dramatic gladioli!
Dahlias are highly productive plants that make great cut flowers. They like any rich soil with good drainage, so dig plenty of compost into the planting hole. You can also add a layer of grit on heavy soils to aid drainage. Dahlias are frost-tender plants, that’s why we start shipping when we are sure there is no longer a risk of frost in your area. Most people start dahlias off in pots indoors. If so, place the pots in a brightly lit spot and keep the soil moist. If you wish to plant dahlias directly in the ground, which is less work, bear in mind that they will flower a little later. You can also plant dahlias in containers. Use large, deep pots and general purpose compost. Add a slow-release fertilizer and plant as normal.
Pinch out the growing tips back to a pair of leaves once the plants are around 40cm high. This makes the plant bushy and encourages vigorous flowering.
Lilies add something special to the garden and thrive in pots and borders.Our Star Gazer lily has been a best seller for several years! They need a sunny spot and rich soil that doesn’t get waterlogged. Plant the bulbs as soon as you get them because they die if they become dehydrated. Lily bulbs need planting very deeply, up to three times the height of the bulb itself. If you want to grow them in pots, choose tall, deep containers and plant closer together than normal. The best flower displays come when the plant’s stem and flowers grow in full sun, but the bulbs are kept cool and shaded. Plant them deeply and add a mulch, or grow ground-cover plants around them.
Lilies are hungry plants and will need regular feeding. Add a high-potassium fertilizer like tomato feed every two weeks. Continue feeding after they have finished flowering to swell the bulbs for next year’s display. Stake tall lilies to stop the stems snapping in the wind. Tie them to garden canes with soft twine and loosen the ties when needed.
Again, Irises like Dahlias are frost tender plants. You don’t have to worry about that because before we ship the summer flowering bulbs we make sure your state will no longer get frost, so it’s safe to plant irises once you receive them. Irises are technically rhizomes, which is a clump of fleshy root. This means they should be planted near the soil surface, rather than deep underground like traditional bulbs.
Place the rhizomes just on the surface and cover the little roots with a soil. Position the crowns of moisture-lovers just below the ground.
Irises do not like to be crowded, so follow the spacing directions on the packet and avoid surrounding them with dense planting.
Irises need to be left exposed to sunlight after flowering – this is how they develop flowers for the following year. You can either remove the leaves when they wilt or leave in place for frost protection.
Gladioli corms prefer light, sandy soils in full sun. You can add plenty of coarse grit if you have heavy soil, and line the bottom of the planting hole with a layer of grit too. You can also enrich the soil with a low-nitrogen fertilizer, but make sure it is well mixed in or it could burn the corms.
Plant the corms deeply (10-15cm) and leave plenty of space between them. Plant even more deeply on loose, sandy soils to stop plants being uprooted by the wind.
Keep well-watered, especially once the foliage appears. Apply a layer of mulch around plants in dry weather. Unless they are supported by surrounding plants, tall gladioli varieties will need staking.
If you are growing gladioli for cutting, plant a few corms every couple of weeks for a continuous supply. Cut the stems when the bottom flower bud is opening and the rest of the buds are showing color.
How to lift and store summer bulbs
Unlike hardy bulbs which are bulbs planted in the fall that bloom in the spring like daffodils and tulips, summer flowering bulbs, get damaged by frost and should be stored indoors over winter. Wait until all the leaves have died down at the end of summer. Lift the bulbs out of the soil with a garden fork, taking care not to damage them. Remove any dead or dying leaves and cut back the leaves or stems to within one inch of the bulb. Leave the bulbs out in the sun to dry out. Then brush all the soil off them. Store the bulbs in mesh bags in the shed or garage. They need air circulation to stop rot setting in. Keep checking the bulbs and remove any that start to rot so you can replant them in spring! Or start a new fundraiser and get a fresh new batch of different flowers 🙂
Happy planting everyone 🙂