Summer Bulbs | Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteers of Clay County

— Written By
en Español / em Português

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.


Inglês é o idioma de controle desta página. Na medida que haja algum conflito entre o texto original em Inglês e a tradução, o Inglês prevalece.

Ao clicar no link de tradução, um serviço gratuito de tradução será ativado para converter a página para o Português. Como em qualquer tradução pela internet, a conversão não é sensivel ao contexto e pode não ocorrer a tradução para o significado orginal. O serviço de Extensão da Carolina do Norte (NC State Extension) não garante a exatidão do texto traduzido. Por favor, observe que algumas funções ou serviços podem não funcionar como esperado após a tradução.


English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

By: Eleanor Moyer – Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer of Clay County

My over-50 daughter loves to go to nurseries in spring to purchase blooming plants for the yard. She wants the look, but not the gardening. She planted daffodils last autumn for the first time! She was so delighted with the result that she queried me about summer blooming bulbs. I hoped her dormant gardening gene was awakening however, I think it’s more the planting once and reaping the visual reward forever, which is not bad reasoning!

Bulbs, including corms, tubers, and rhizomes, are storage tanks that keep plants alive during dormant periods and nourish during the growing season. This, then, is the optimal time to fertilize bulbs that bloom in the spring (daffodils, tulips, etc.) so the plant can renew its food storage for next spring’s bloom. That is also why you do not remove leaves (according to Southern Living’s Grumpy Gardener) or at least until they are brown as this is nature’s way of ‘filling the tank’.

Summer bulbs should be planted after all danger of frost. Generally, for our zone that’s April 27. The area should have good drainage, and enough sun for the plant’s needs, be tilled, and amended with compost. Some summer bulbs can withstand our winter and remain in the ground all year, however, some are tender and will need to be dug up, cleaned, and stored at about 55º or be treated like an annual. There are so many fabulous selections!

If I had to suggest one hardy plant for my daughter, it would be Iris. They do fabulous in our area, are easy to grow, have a stunning variety of colors, and attractive swordlike leaves all growing season. I purchased one at the Master Gardener Plant Sale that is fragrant and reblooms in the fall! The rhizome should be just at ground level or slightly below. Lilies are another plant with star power. They are lovely in a mixed border and as a cut flower. Voles are a problem, so you may want to cage the bulbs in small mesh wire fencing. Voles may love them, but they are toxic to cats. Calla lilies are supposed to be tender, but mine have returned for years.

My absolute favorites however are dahlias. They are native to Mexico and Central America and were brought to Europe after the Spanish conquest. The tubers are high in sugar and have been used as a food source. That was then; today there are over 57,000 cultivars. Their immense colorization is what attracts pollinators. You can plant dahlia seeds, however, the flower may or may not look anything like the mother plant- you could get something spectacular or a dud. A tuber will reproduce an exact copy. Most dahlias are tender, so they need to be stored during the winter. Most will need some staking which is good to do at planting time. There is an American Dahlia Society which will provide a plethora of information.

I have no more space, but there are so many more choices:  elephant ears, crocosmia, canna lily, caladium, gladiolus – oh my!

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the annual Clay County Master Gardener Plant Sale on May 3-4 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. & May 5 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. The sale will be at the Downtown Discovery Garden and will host a plethora of perennials, natives, shrubs, herbs, vegetables, & more! Plus, Master Gardeners will be on-site to answer any gardening questions you may have. The sale will be at the Downtown Discovery Garden located at 25 Riverside Circle, Hayesville, located behind the Extension Office.