Summer Blooming Bulbs

by High Country Gardens

Collection of dahlia blooms
Dahlias are native to Central America and Mexico and love the heat. Shown: Dahlia Cactus Mix

Beautiful Flowers the First Summer

Summer blooming bulbs are a great way to color up your garden. Most bloom their first growing season, many can be used as annuals (in colder climates) and as perennials in mild-winter climates and many are heat lovers, excellent for use in regions with hot, humid summers. In general, these are a versatile group of bulbs where many years of breeding improvements (done primarily in Europe) has created a kaleidoscope of colors and flower forms.

Our Most Popular Spring-Planted, Summer Blooming Bulbs:

Dahlia

Originally native to Mexico and Central America, these showy flowers love the heat. Dahlias make outstanding cut flowers and I recommend finding a spot in your garden where you can cultivate a number of different varieties for an unending supply of late summer cuts. Dahlia Dark Angel® Dracula is a compact single-flowered variety that is excellent for container gardens and will bloom all summer with its nectar-rich purple-red flowers. Engage and amaze your kids by having them plant some Dinnerplate varieties; their huge flowers can be 8 inches across! Many gardeners are unaware that Dahlias can be successfully overwintered in mild winter areas in zones 8 to 10. But I've seen them do just fine in zones 6 and 7 when mulched heavily with 6" of clean wheat straw mulch to keep the ground from freezing.

  1. Café au Lait Dinnerplate Dahlia Flower Close Up

    Café Au Lait Dinnerplate Dahlia is so breathtakingly beautiful that it’s a favorite for special occasions everywhere. Big 6-10" sumptuous flowers are creamy white blushed with sha...

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    Cafe au Lait Dinnerplate Dahlia Cafe au Lait Dinnerplate Dahlia Dinnerplate Dahlia Cafe au Lait
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    Café Au Lait Dinnerplate Dahlia is so breathtakingly beautiful that it’s a favorite for special occasions everywhere. Big 6-10" sumptuous flowers are creamy white blushed with shades of pink, peach, and mocha. No two flowers are the same. Cut some of these beautiful blooms, and you’ll have a stunning bouquet.
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  2. Purple Dinnerplate Dahlia Thomas Edison, Dahlia, Decorative Dinnerplate Dahlia

    'Thomas Edison' is a Dinnerplate Dahlia with huge, deep purple flowers that make excellent bouquets....

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    Thomas Edison Dinnerplate Dahlia Thomas Edison Dinnerplate Dahlia Dinnerplate Dahlia Thomas Edison
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    'Thomas Edison' is a Dinnerplate Dahlia with huge, deep purple flowers that make excellent bouquets.
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  3. Emory Paul Dinnerplate Dahlia Flower

    Emory Paul Dinnerplate Dahlia is the largest flowering Dahlia we know of, with whopping 12-14" flowers in brilliant deep pink with light pink edges. Standing tall, they are a dramati...

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    Emory Paul Dinnerplate Dahlia Emory Paul Dinnerplate Dahlia Dinnerplate Dahlia Emory Paul
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    Emory Paul Dinnerplate Dahlia is the largest flowering Dahlia we know of, with whopping 12-14" flowers in brilliant deep pink with light pink edges. Standing tall, they are a dramatic, colorful addition to the summer garden.
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  4. Hollyhill Spider Woman Cactus Dahlia Bulbs

    Hollyhill Spider Woman Cactus Dahlia looks like a pinwheel in motion with its thin spikey red, white, and pink petals radiating from a lush center. A real show-off, Hollyhill Spider ...

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    Hollyhill Spider Woman Cactus Dahlia Hollyhill Spider Woman Cactus Dahlia Cactus Dahlia Hollyhill Spider Woman
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    Hollyhill Spider Woman Cactus Dahlia looks like a pinwheel in motion with its thin spikey red, white, and pink petals radiating from a lush center. A real show-off, Hollyhill Spider Woman Dahlia blooms from June ‘til frost with plentiful 6" flowers.
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Lilies

These long-lived bulbs can be grown across much of the country, but are at their best in cooler climates. Like peonies, the colder the winters the longer they live. And many of them are quite fragrant. I recommend that the taller lilies be planted in among other shorter perennials to fill in around the base of their tall, lanky stems.

  1. Asiatic Lily 'Forever Susan'

    ‘Forever Susan’ Asiatic Lily has vivid, deep burgundy flowers highlighted with bright gold and orange. Enriching the summer garden with a profusion of blooms, ‘Forever Susan’...

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    Forever Susan Asiatic Lily Forever Susan Asiatic Lily Lilium Forever Susan
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    ‘Forever Susan’ Asiatic Lily has vivid, deep burgundy flowers highlighted with bright gold and orange. Enriching the summer garden with a profusion of blooms, ‘Forever Susan’ will bridge the season between spring-blooming bulbs and summer’s blossoms. Lilies are excellent cut flowers and will attract pollinators to your garden.
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  2. Asiatic Lily 'Landini'

    Elegant and unique, ‘Landini’ Asiatic Lily will fill the early summer garden with deep purple star-like flowers. These dramatic flowers add the perfect mystery to a garden bed or...

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    Landini Asiatic Lily Landini Asiatic Lily Lilium Landini
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    Elegant and unique, ‘Landini’ Asiatic Lily will fill the early summer garden with deep purple star-like flowers. These dramatic flowers add the perfect mystery to a garden bed or cut flower arrangement, sometimes looking like shadows, sometimes like a jewel-tone treasure. The deep color can contrast with bright summer flowers, or blend beautifully with other lilies. An easy-to-grow favorite loved by both gardeners and pollinators!
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  3. Red Asiatic Lily Black Out, Lilium, Asiatic Lily

    Asiatic Lily 'Black Out' has large deep red flowers that bring an exotic glow to the garden and make superb bouquets....

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    Black Out Asiatic Lily Black Out Asiatic Lily Lilium Black Out
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    Asiatic Lily 'Black Out' has large deep red flowers that bring an exotic glow to the garden and make superb bouquets.
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  4. Pink Oriental Lily Stargazer, Lilium, Oriental Lily

    Oriental Lily 'Stargazer' is a classic beauty blooming in summer with large fragrant flowers colored with deep pink strips and speckles, giving the flower a the look of stars in the ...

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    Stargazer Oriental Lily Stargazer Oriental Lily Lilium Stargazer
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    Oriental Lily 'Stargazer' is a classic beauty blooming in summer with large fragrant flowers colored with deep pink strips and speckles, giving the flower a the look of stars in the sky.
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Gladiolus

These South African wildflowers have been breed for generations to increase their flower size and color range. While most Gladiolus are perennial in zones 8 to 10, the dwarf hardy Glads are suitable for zones 5, 6 an 7 making a gorgeous display mixed into perennial beds. The taller, less cold hardy varieties make superb, long lasting cut flowers. Plant some future bouquets this spring with a nice mix of tall, large-flowered varieties. 'Purple Flora' and 'Raven' are especially striking with their dark, richly colored flowers.

  1. Gladiolus Plum Tart (Bulb), Purple Gladiolus, Hot Pink Gladiolus

    Give Gladiolus ‘Plum Tart’ a try and you’ll be glad you did. Dramatic magenta-purple flowers fill the tall stems of this hardy plant and combined with its sword-like foliage yo...

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    Plum Tart Gladiolus Plum Tart Gladiolus Gladiolus Plum Tart
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    Give Gladiolus ‘Plum Tart’ a try and you’ll be glad you did. Dramatic magenta-purple flowers fill the tall stems of this hardy plant and combined with its sword-like foliage you have a combo of intense summer color and strong vertical elements, giving your summer garden a fresh chapter. Easy-to-grow, Gladiolus ‘Plum Tart’ is 36-44 inches tall making it perfect for a perennial bed or as a key element in a cutting garden. Hardy in zones 8-11, they can be grown in cooler zones as annuals.

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  2. Pink Hardy Gladiolus Charming Beauty, Gladiolus nanus, Hardy Gladiolus

    Hardy Gladiolus Charming Beauty have fantastic bi-colored deep-pink flowers and are perfect to cut for summer bouquets. These Hardy Gladiolus are easy to grow and are winter hardy in...

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    Charming Beauty Hardy Gladiolus Charming Beauty Hardy Gladiolus Gladiolus nanus Charming Beauty
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    Per Bag of 8
    Hardy Gladiolus Charming Beauty have fantastic bi-colored deep-pink flowers and are perfect to cut for summer bouquets. These Hardy Gladiolus are easy to grow and are winter hardy in zones 5-8. Deer resistant.
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Canna Lilies

The hotter the better for these sub-tropical beauties. In areas of the country where mid-summer heat and humidity is too much for many flowers, Cannas will thrive. Fast-growing, with vibrant blooms and lush, tropical-looking foliage, by planting Canna Lily bulbs, you’ll quickly get a handsome, 3-4 foot addition to your garden. Canna Lilies will deliver a summer-long show, with huge, spectacular iris-like flowers. Plant them where you want to draw They can be grown in regular flower beds or large containers with enriched soil and regular irrigation. 'Tropicanna' and 'Tropicanna Black' are especially showy grown in pots with their large, showy tiger-striped leaves. Or they are excellent bog plants for those of you with ponds and areas with damp, boggy soil. Water often, as Canna Lilies enjoy moist ground, though constant wetness isn’t necessary. Plant them where you want to draw attention, or use their large size to your advantage and create a dramatic Canna Lily screen.

  1. Cannasol™ Happy Carmen® Canna Lily

    Cannasol™ Happy Carmen® Canna Lily has eye-popping hot red, long-lasting, big flowers on a compact plant with lush green foliage. Flowering from May to September, they are easy-ca...

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    CannaSol™ Happy Carmen® Canna Lily CannaSol™ Happy Carmen® Canny Lily Canna indica Happy Carmen®
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    Cannasol™ Happy Carmen® Canna Lily has eye-popping hot red, long-lasting, big flowers on a compact plant with lush green foliage. Flowering from May to September, they are easy-care solutions for big summer color. What’s not to love?
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  2. Cannasol™ Happy Julia® Canna Lily

    A true drama queen, Cannasol™ Happy Julia® Canna Lily is striking with its bold red flowers and dark green foliage burnished with bronze. Compact sturdy plants bloom non-stop spri...

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    CannaSol™ Happy Julia® Canna Lily CannaSol™ Happy Julia® Canna Lily Canna indica Happy Julia®
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    A true drama queen, Cannasol™ Happy Julia® Canna Lily is striking with its bold red flowers and dark green foliage burnished with bronze. Compact sturdy plants bloom non-stop spring to fall and are a pollinator favorite too.
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  3. Cannasol™ Happy Wilma® Canna Lily

    Let Cannasol™ Happy Wilma® Canna Lily brighten up your summer garden with tropical panache. Something about the exotic burgundy/bronze foliage topped by tangerine flowers can punc...

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    CannaSol™ Happy Wilma® Canna Lily CannaSol™ Happy Wilma® Canna Lily Canna indica Happy Wilma®
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    Let Cannasol™ Happy Wilma® Canna Lily brighten up your summer garden with tropical panache. Something about the exotic burgundy/bronze foliage topped by tangerine flowers can punctuate the summer garden as a striking focal point!
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Calla Lilies

Not to be confused with Canna lilies (above), these South African native plants are unusual and exotically colored. I like to use Calla Lilies in container gardens where their unique flowers contrast vividly with petunias and other common annuals. Pair up nearly black 'Black Forest' with the glowing golden 'Best Gold' for a dramatic potted combination. In the garden, these are vigorous perennials for mild-winter areas (zones 8 to 10) of the southern states where the rainfall is more ample. I've not had much success with them in the ground in arid climates. I think they are best grown in pots in the drier intermountain West. But in coastal areas of California, they are a great, "no-brainer" perennial.

  1. Yellow Calla Lily Best Gold, Zantedeschia, Calla Lily

    'Best Gold' is a deep golden yellow Calla Lily that blooms in mid-summer....

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    Best Gold Calla Lily Best Gold Calla Lily Zantedeschia Best Gold
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    'Best Gold' is a deep golden yellow Calla Lily that blooms in mid-summer.
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  2. White Calla Lily Albomaculata, Zantedeschia, Calla Lily

    Calla Lily Albomaculata is a classic, creamy white Calla Lily and looks stunning in the garden or a bouquet. Sometimes called the Florist's Calla Lily, this variety reaches a height ...

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    Florist's White Calla Lily Florist's White Calla Lily Zantedeschia albomaculata
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    Calla Lily Albomaculata is a classic, creamy white Calla Lily and looks stunning in the garden or a bouquet. Sometimes called the Florist's Calla Lily, this variety reaches a height of only 12-14” and has deep green leaves flecked with small white spots.
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  3. Calla Lily Mango

    Add drama to your garden with Calla Lily Mango's large, trumpet-shaped mango-orange blooms. Calla Lilies are easy-to-grow, make great cutting flowers and are deer resistant....

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    Mango Calla Lily Mango Calla Lily Zantedeschia Mango
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    Add drama to your garden with Calla Lily Mango's large, trumpet-shaped mango-orange blooms. Calla Lilies are easy-to-grow, make great cutting flowers and are deer resistant.
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  4. Calla Lily Picasso

    Well named, Calla Lily 'Picasso' is an unusual cultivar that offers a bi-colored flower. Opening with a creamy flower, it gradually reveals its purple heart. A real beauty! 16-20" ta...

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    Picasso Calla Lily Picasso Calla Lily Zantedeschia Picasso
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    Well named, Calla Lily 'Picasso' is an unusual cultivar that offers a bi-colored flower. Opening with a creamy flower, it gradually reveals its purple heart. A real beauty! 16-20" tall.
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Unique Summer Blooming Bulbs

If you want something you won't find in everyone else's garden, choose wonderful spring-planted bulbs from our 'Unique Bulbs' selection. Easily grown, these flower bulbs will add interest to your garden beds with their unique blooms and rich, vibrant colors. Try Crocosmia, Freesia, Foxtail Lilies, Tiger Floweres, Anemone and more!

Triteleia (Starflowers)

This genus of native bulbs come to us from the Pacific Northwest. Not well known, these early summer bloomers are easy, long-lived and color-up the garden with their starry flowers in white and shades of blue. Starflowers are a good addition to the xeric (waterwise) garden as they grow well in drier conditions and poorer soils. I've even seen them mixed into beds of cacti!

Stretch your horticultural wings this year and plant some unique summer blooming bulbs. Mixed into container gardens, planted to fill in newly planted perennial beds or as part of your cut flower garden, these flowers are a great way to enjoy quick-to-bloom summer color.

Multi-colored starflower blooms
Starflowers grow well in dry conditions and poorer soils.Shown: Triteleia Mix
  1. Double Tuberose, Polianthes The Pearl

    Double Tuberose (Polianthes) is a double-flowered cultivar, also known as The Pearl, and has fragrant, creamy-white flowers on tall stems above clumps of grass-like foliage. Double T...

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    The Pearl Double Tuberose (Polianthes) The Pearl Double Tuberose Polianthes tuberosa The Pearl
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    Double Tuberose (Polianthes) is a double-flowered cultivar, also known as The Pearl, and has fragrant, creamy-white flowers on tall stems above clumps of grass-like foliage. Double Tuberose is a wonderful cut flower for long-lasting flower arrangements. Perfect for patio pots. 24-36" tall.
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  2. Amaryllis Belladonna (Naked Ladies Plant)

    Amaryllis Belladonna have fragrant light-pink flowers that appear in mid-August once their green foliage has died back, giving them the common name of “Naked Ladies.” They natura...

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    Naked Lady Lily (Amaryllis Belladonna) Naked Lady Lily, Jersey Lily Amaryllis belladonna
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    Amaryllis Belladonna have fragrant light-pink flowers that appear in mid-August once their green foliage has died back, giving them the common name of “Naked Ladies.” They naturalize readily in well-drained soil. Mulch over winter to extend cold hardiness. Cold hardy in zones 7-11. Grow as annuals elsewhere. 24-36" tall.
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  3. Gloriosa Lily, Gloriosa rothschildiana

    Like a flash of firelight, Gloriosa Lily (Gloriosa rothschildiana or commonly, Flame Lily or Fire Lily) is an eye-catching climbing tender perennial that bears unusual rich-toned red...

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    Gloriosa Lily Gloriosa Lily, Fire Lily Gloriosa rothschildiana
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    Like a flash of firelight, Gloriosa Lily (Gloriosa rothschildiana or commonly, Flame Lily or Fire Lily) is an eye-catching climbing tender perennial that bears unusual rich-toned red flowers, with penciled yellow edges and swept back petals. Spice up a boring wall or trellis with Gloriosa! (Note: All parts of the plant are poisonous.)
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  4. Pink Zephyranthes Pink, Zephyranthus, Rain Lilies or Fairy Lilies

    Zephyranthes Pink Rain Lilies (sometimes known as Fairy Lilies) are some of our finest native bulbs ranging from Texas down into Central America. Pink Rain Lily naturalizes to form c...

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    Pink Rain Lily Pink Rain Lily Zephyranthes Pink
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    Zephyranthes Pink Rain Lilies (sometimes known as Fairy Lilies) are some of our finest native bulbs ranging from Texas down into Central America. Pink Rain Lily naturalizes to form colorful colonies that bloom after summer rains.
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Text and Photos by David Salman.

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