Now is the perfect time to start getting your bulbs, corms, and tubers in the ground ready for summer. With so many different blooms on offer, in all varieties, shapes, sizes, and colours it can be too difficult to decide. And if you’re a fan of ‘easy’ gardening, and by that, we mean someone doing all the hard work for you. We have picked our 10 favourite summer bulbs, corms and tubers that will create maximum impact in your garden with minimal effort.
‘Picasso’ is a rare, unusual, and simply beautiful Calla lily variety, producing stunning bicolour flowers each summer. Newly formed blooms are creamy-white, to begin with, then open up magically to reveal their deep-purple hearts. A real showstopper! Grow singly in pots about 10-15cm diameter, or all 3 in a 20cm diameter pot. For best results, they should be kept very warm and well-watered once planted for 2 weeks to kick-start their dormancy. Putting them on a heater or an airing cupboard is fine, then once the green shoots appear place them outside.
Pack of 3 Corms – £9.99
Bletilla, or the Hyacinth Orchid, is one of the hardiest and easiest to grow terrestrial garden orchids in the UK. They will slowly form clumps that produce their gorgeous detailed striped, pink flowers in early Summer. Quite unfussy when grown in shade, they are perfect under trees, on lawns and in pots in the shade. They will slowly spread outwards as they naturalise, coming back each year with bigger displays.
Pack of 3 Bulbs – £12.99
There is a certain fascination with so-called black flowers, although, in nature, almost all are the deepest of velvet purples. After years of painstaking breeding, ‘Landini’ Lily was born and is the darkest Lily we know of in some way. They provide the perfect backdrop for neon bright flowers, their dark contrast setting them off perfectly. Their upright stems will each produce have 5 or more flowers. They make interesting cut flowers or leave them in the garden. Winter hardy, leave them to die back naturally as autumn progresses, to feed up the bulbs as they retreat underground.
Pack of 10 Bulbs – £9.99
The unusual and immensely pretty Mirabilis Jalapa opens its gorgeous flowers in mid-afternoon on sunny days in the height of summer. Only to close them again at night, hence one of its common names ‘The Four O’clock Plant’. Incredibly, each plant produces its flowers in a mix of colours, from magenta to white, bicolour, and yellow. It is no wonder it’s called the ‘Marvel of Peru’! Plant in beds and borders, and it will form a neat, bushy shrub that will grow to 1m tall.
Pack of 10 Tubers – £12.99
Set your pots and borders alight this summer, with this colour mix of dwarf and compact Carpet Lilies. Naturally bred grow only to about 30cm tall, what they lack in height they make up for in sheer flower power – each bulb will give one strong stem with 3-5 flowers each in the first year and increasing year after year beyond that. They are great planted en-masse in beds and borders where they will smother the bare ground – ideal for filling in gaps and spaces where you really will create a carpet of hot summer colour.
Pack of 10 bulbs – £9.99
Commonly known as Tuberoses, these amazingly sweet-scented beauties will enchant you in summer, as their beautiful fragrance wafts gently on warm evening breezes. It’s easy to see why it is often used as a base fragrance in leading perfumes. Tuberoses make a really nice cut flower to scent a room with or enjoy in pots too. Plant the bulbs indoors in spring to get a head start, and bring them outside from May, growing in a warm, sunny spot. Flowering from August and September, producing pretty creamy white double flowers, with an intoxicating strong fragrance.
Pack of 10 Bulbs – £14.99
Also known as the Mexican shell flower, peacock flower or Aztec lily, the striking Tigridia is a delightful flower with petals in a multitude of shades of scarlet, orange, pink, yellow, and mauve, and white, usually with contrasting spots and splashes in the centre of the flower. Each bloom has three large, coloured petals that surround three smaller spotty petals and a central cup with its lance-shaped leaves. These blooms are not unlike a gladiolus, and just like daylilies will flower for just one day – although they are produced in succession, so blooming can last several weeks.
Pack of 25 bulbs – £5.99
Crocosmia Lucifer will produce masses of bright red flowers in freesia-like sprays in midsummer. This is a vigorous plant with sword-shaped, pleated, mid-green leaves. It is perfect for planting in large groups, bringing heat to your borders or in pots that will overflow with its arching leaves and stems, and the flowers are also excellent for cutting. Some of the very easiest plants to grow. With the flowering stems reaching around 1.2m tall, they are perfect for the middle and back of borders.
Pack of 10 Corms – £11.99
‘African Lady’ will fill your patio pots and containers with incredibly beautiful and fragrant blooms in a lovely shade of bright red. The large petals are edged in white, creating the perfect contrast against the glossy green foliage. Flowering during the summer months, Lily ‘African Lady’ is a perfect option for mixed borders and cut flower gardens where you can enjoy their beautiful pink flowers indoors too. Position in either full sun or dappled shade and leave them to die back in winter, where these hardy lilies will come back each summer and continue to flourish for many more years.
Pack of 10 Bulbs – £14.99
These fantastic Montbretia will add colour and height to your beds and borders this year. Bursting into life from mid-summer with an explosion of yellow, orange, and red blooms. Growing to around 60-90cm (2-3ft) tall, they are perfect for the back of borders. They are very hardy perennials (to at least -20C!), and some of the very easiest plants to grow. They will thrive in any conditions moist or dry soil, full sun or shade, shelter or exposed spots. Ideal for novices or busy gardeners who cannot afford to spend lots of time making their gardens look great.
Pack of 25 Corms – £7.99
YouGarden’s Top Tip
Which way up? Usually, pointy end up! But if you are not sure, plant the bulb on its side and it will eventually right itself.