Gardening with Summer Bulbs

A trip to the garden center in the spring can cause an overload of color stimulus! One of the overlooked areas of gardening is summer bulbs! Summer bulbs can produce steady blooming throughout the summer season and add interesting texture and height. Some of our favorite summer bulbs are also some of the most widely used.


These are an old-fashioned flower often used in flower arrangements and many times seen in your grandma’s garden!  The unique colors found in gladiolus are great to incorporate into many color trends options. These plants can become quite tall growing two to 5 feet.  Plant the Gladiolus bulb after the threat of freezing has passed in a soil that is well drained with full sun. Keep in mind that taller plants may need staking and should be planted toward the back of your garden.


These are another traditional favorite and can produce flowers are large as dinnerplates! Dahlias are planted either from seed or by tubers. Seed dahlias produce much smaller flowers, so if you are wanting a big punch of color for arrangements and your garden, we suggest planting tubers. Dahlias should also be planted after the threat of freezing has passed in well drained soil.  Full sun is the best spot for growth. Dig your hole 6-8” deep and plant the tuber with the eyes up.


Growing Canna can give your garden a tropical feel. The large leaves and spike flower on top of the plant are very showy. Varieties vary in height in anywhere from 2 feet to up to 6 feet! Cannas like it quite warm when planting, freezing should have passed and soil temp should be at least 60 degrees. Plant the canna rhizome shallow, digging the hole 3” or slightly deeper.

Summer bulbs unfortunately are not hardy in South Dakota, so overwintering practices do need to be followed before the first hard freeze. Stay tuned to find out what steps should be taken to overwinter these beauties!