Mention bulbs, and most gardeners think of fall-planted, spring-blooming beauties like daffodils and tulips. But there are also many other bulbs that, when planted in spring, will bloom all summer long. They include tuberous begonias, which produce glorious blooms in almost every shade but blue and purple. Begonias come in many plant forms from upright to trailing, love shade, and are excellent in containers. Dahlias are also versatile summer bulbs that bloom in most colors. Plants range in height from less than 1 foot to over 6 feet high, depending on variety. Flowers can be small and dainty, or huge and boisterous (some are more than 1 foot wide). The tall flower spikes of gladiolus are ideal cut flowers.
Plant a few bulbs every few weeks and you’ll have fresh flowers until fall. Caladiums are shade-loving bulbs grown for their large, intricately colored leaves in shades of white, green, red and pink. They are also excellent grown in pots.
Nurseries will carry many other summer bulbs, including calla lily, spider lily and canna. Make sure to plant the bulbs at the proper depth (nursery labels usually provide all the cultural information you’ll need). In cold winter climates, tender bulbs will have to be dug up in fall and stored in a protected area over winter.