Summer flowering bulbs provide gardens with a riot of colour and fragrance. The majority can be planted directly outdoors, as soon as the risk of frost has passed.
Bulbs are also a great choice for planting in containers – not only for the patio but also to nestle within your flower beds to add interest. Choosing a complementary coloured pot or a small group of similar pots can add a splash of colour even before the bulbs come into flower. Just remember to protect from frost with some horticultural fleece and raise off the ground with pot feet to avoid waterlogging and deter slugs.
The range of bulbs on offer at Hillier Garden Centres increases each year. Find traditional favourites, plus exciting new varieties and bulb collections, including some new bulbs exclusively available at Hillier.
When to Plant Summer-Flowering Bulbs
As an approximate guide, these are the best months to plant some of the most loved bulbs for a summer display.
Dahlias, for colour from July through to October.
Anemones; plant at the front of a border for early summer colour.
Gladioli; planted in May, these bulbs will produce imposing spikes of vibrant colour from July to September.
If you are a little late with your bulbs, don’t worry; you’ll still get a beautiful display, just slightly later!
2019 Bulb of the Year
Ranunculus ‘Purple Heart’
Ranunculus ‘Purple Heart’ has beautiful, rich, purple-black flowers throughout May and June. Ideal for containers, it grows to only around 25cm high making it a great choice for the front of your borders where it will thrive in full sun. Like all Ranunculus, it prefers a rich soil, so dig in some well-rotted manure or compost before planting. Paired with pinks and greens, the deep purple of ‘Purple Heart’ will provide real drama in the garden.
Planting Time March to April
Flowering Time May to June
Size Grows to 25cm height
Sun Full sun
Dinner Plate Dahlias
Left to right: Dinner Plate Dahlia ‘Arthur Hambley’, Dinner Plate Dahlia ‘Purple Explosion’, Dinner Plate Dahlia ‘Mom’s Special’
New for Hillier Garden Centres in 2019 are our astonishing Dinner Plate Dahlias. These boast the largest flowers of all the Dahlias with some varieties reaching almost a foot in diameter!
Available as loose tubers, these can be planted from March to May and will flower from June onwards. Barring an early frost, these will bloom right through to September or October with regular dead-heading. These are quite tall plants and because of that are best suited to
the back of the border. Combined with the large flower size, most will need some kind of support, whether a bamboo cane or something more decorative such as Tom Chambers herbaceous supports. All are happy in full sun or partial shade.
Dinner Plate Dahlia ‘Arthur Hambley’
Recommended by the National Dahlia Society, Dinner Plate Dahlia ‘Arthur Hambley’ boasts exceptionally large flowers of lilac-pink and grows to a metre high.
Dinner Plate Dahlia ‘Purple Explosion’
D. ‘Purple Explosion’ has a stunning ruffled flower head, purple with white tips more prominent on the inner petals – a real blousy showoff!
Dinner Plate Dahlia ‘Mom’s Special’
Just as striking but perhaps slightly more understated is D. ‘Mom’s Special’, frosty white with delicate lilac streaks – a fantastic cut-flower variety.
Left to right: Lily ‘Easy Beat’, Dahlia ‘Zonda’, Dahlia ‘Rock Star’
This spring we are delighted to be able to offer our customers three new exclusive bulb varieties not available anywhere else.
Lily ‘Easy Beat’
Lily ‘Easy Beat’ is a joyful variety with flowers in warm shades of orange subtly changing to coral pink at the tips. The flowers are borne on long stems making it ideal for cutting. In the garden, the metre-high stems are best planted towards the back of the border. Plant bulbs any time from February to May and enjoy the blooms throughout June and July.
D. ‘Zonda’ has fiery red petals with yellow throats producing a super hot colour combination. Grows to 70-80 cm high. Plant March to May and be rewarded with repeat flowering from July to September.
Dahlia ‘Rock Star’
D ‘Rock Star’ has reddish-purple flowers with a distinctive pincushion-shaped centre. The colour sits well both with hot hues such as red and orange and with cooler colours such as purples and pinks. Suitable for the middle of the border, or in a pot with some support for a real statement. Plant March to May for flowers from July to September.
If you don’t have a particular plan in mind for your bulb planting, our specially designed collection packs could be just the thing. Carefully
selected varieties which work together well in a theme are a straightforward way to get the look you are after.
‘Cottage Garden’ Collection
A popular choice. A mixture of bulbs that create the classic, soft and appealing cottage garden style.
‘Bees and Butterflies’ Collection
Another popular collection, with varieties selected that are particularly attractive to bees and butterflies – important, as we now all understand the benefits of attracting these pollinators into our gardens.
‘Scented’ Collection – NEW FOR 2019
A mixture of bulb varieties, including Freesia ‘Blue Heaven’, Polianthes tuberosa, Leucocoryne ‘Dione’ and Gladiolus callianthus. Planted together in a suitable spot in the garden they can flower and bring beautiful scent over the summer months.
Recommended Toolkit for Planting Bulbs
- Complementary plants
- Osmocote controlled release fertiliser
- Bulb Starter
- Fish, Blood & Bone feed
- Long or short-handled bulb planter
For bed or border planting only
- Stable Manure
For pot or container planting only
- Pots / containers
- Pot feet
- Potting grit / other pot topper
- Hillier Multi-purpose compost (outdoor pots)
- Bulb Fibre compost (indoor pots)