By Glenn DiNella
Although many summer bulbs originated in the tropics and appear very tender, a number can withstand some pretty cold winters. The amaryllis above even withstood the single-digit temps the Southeast experienced two years ago.
You should also be patient with them. One homeowner said she received the plant as a Christmas gift years ago. She planted it in her garden the following spring, where it produced only foliage for two years. The third year, and every year thereafter, it bloomed.
When looking for a place to plant bulbs such as canna lilies, consider siting them where you enjoy their striking foliage when backlit by the rising or setting sun.
The Lowe’s garden center features elephant ears in colors ranging from plain green to variegated to deep burgundy. They also offer some interesting crinkly textures. Their massive foliage creates instant impact in your summer garden.
While you’re there, look for summer bulbs in pots outdoors. If you don’t find them, check the indoor seasonal section, where you might find them packaged in bags.
Caladiums are great summer bulbs; try them in beds or containers. This container features curly parsley, variegated ivy, and white snapdragons, but the caladiums steal the show.
Gardeners in the upper parts of the Southeast: If you want to make absolutely certain your cannas or other summer bulbs survive winter, here’s what to do. In fall, when the cannas are tired out or have been zapped by that first frost, dig them up, roots and all.
Trim off the foliage, then place the tubers or bulbs in a paper bag. (Don’t use plastic—it traps moisture and may cause tubers to develop fungus and rot). Place the paper bag in a cool, dry spot that stays above freezing, such as a garage or storage shed. Come spring you can pull out the bulbs and replant them.
Caladiums, gladiolas, and dahlias are among the bulbs that bring exuberant color to your summer garden.Learn More