Summer bulbs: Plant ’em in spring, enjoy ’em in summer -- and sometimes into fall, too. While some of these bulbs and tubers are hardy in cold climates, the tender ones can either be treated as annuals or dug up after the first frost and stored indoors for the winter.
Here are 10 top performers to plant in your garden.
There are so many different dahlia flower forms that they’re separated into nearly a dozen classes. The colors are as bright as they are numerous. Their range of heights means dahlias can fill a number of landscape needs. Height: 8 inches to 6 feet/Sun/Zones 9–11
The sword-shape leaves are reason enough to plant this summer bulb in the garden. But when the exotic red, orange, or yellow flowers appear in midsummer, you’re really going to be happy you invited crocosmia to the garden party. Height: 1–2 feet/Sun/Zones 6–9
Caladium offers something unique: color in the shade. But the leaves do all the work, so there’s no worry about fading blooms. The large arrow-shape leaves come in various colors and patterns but all have a distinctive look. Height: 2 feet/Shade/Zones 12–15
Gladiolus are a favorite cut flower because the colorful spikes add height and drama to any arrangement – and they last a long time. Gardeners will appreciate how easy they are to grow. Colors go from soft pastels to bold. Height 3–6 feet/Sun/Zones 8–10
Calla (Zantedeschia spp.) could pass for a foliage plant with its glossy green, arrow-shape leaves. But those attractive leaves are really a foil for the flowers, which come in hues of white, yellow, pink, red, and burgundy. Height: 1–3 feet/Sun or Part Shade/Zones 8–10
6) Asiatic Lily
Don’t let the graceful flowers fool you. These plants are tough -- and surprisingly easy to grow. The star-shape flowers come in many bright colors. Height: 3–6 feet/Sun/Zones 3–8
7) Oriental Lily
These dramatic plants have a lot going for them, especially their impressive height and big, bright blooms. The trumpet-shape flowers are ideal for cutting and often have captivating scents. Height: 1–6 feet/Sun/Zones 5–9
These foliage standouts add a tropical flair to any setting, and so do the showy blooms when they appear in midsummer. With a range of heights, canna can find a spot in any garden. Height: 2–10 feet/Sun/Zones 8–10
A magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds, liatris is at home in a garden bed or a field of wildflowers. Also called blazing star, it has long-lasting flower spikes in late summer and early fall. Height: 4–5 feet/Sun/Zones 4–9
10) Elephant’s Ear
Forget about flowers; foliage is why gardeners grow the taro (Colocasia) and elephant’s ear (Alocasia) seen here. The leaves of either plant can grow very large if moisture is available. Height: 3–10 feet/ Part Shade/Zones 10–15, depending on species