Summer Flowering Bulbs

Transform your summer garden with our selection of Summer Flowering Bulbs. Fill your borders, hanging baskets, and garden planters with Dahlias, Galdioli, Anenomes, and more. Delivered directly to your door, our plants promise to transform your summer garden with dazzling and lasting colour, making it easy to pack your flower beds with vibrance. 

Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast with a large or small space, we have got you covered. Discover our exquisite collection of summer flowering bulbs.

See more >

What are Summer Flowering Bulbs?

Summer flowering bulbs are a diverse group of plants that grow from bulbs and produce blooms during the warmer months, typically from late spring to early fall. Unlike spring-flowering bulbs that bloom earlier in the year, summer-flowering bulbs add colour and beauty to gardens later in the growing season. These bulbs are planted in the spring, and as the weather warms up, they send up shoots that eventually blossom into a variety of vibrant and often fragrant flowers.

Common examples of summer flowering bulbs include:

Dahlias: Known for their wide range of colours, shapes, and sizes, dahlias are prized for their showy blooms and make excellent cut flowers.

Lilies: Produce stunning, often fragrant flowers in mid to late summer.

Gladioli: With tall spikes of colourful flowers, gladioli add vertical interest to gardens and are available in a variety of colours.

Cannas: These tropical-looking plants feature large, bold leaves and vibrant, showy flowers that bloom from late spring to early fall.

Calla Lilies: Elegant and often used in weddings, calla lilies produce distinctive, trumpet-shaped flowers in various colors.

Liatris (Blazing Star): This perennial bulb produces tall spikes of fuzzy, bottlebrush-like flowers that attract pollinators like butterflies and bees.

Crocosmia: Known for their arching stems of tubular flowers, crocosmia adds a touch of exotic beauty to the summer garden.

Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile): These bulbs produce clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of blue and white, creating a striking display.

Alliums: While many alliums bloom in late spring, some varieties, such as the Summer Drummer, produce flowers in mid to late summer.

To enjoy a continuous display of flowers throughout the summer, it's common to plant a variety of bulbs with staggered bloom times. Summer flowering bulbs can be planted in borders, beds, containers, and other garden spaces, adding visual interest and variety to outdoor landscapes.

Why Grow Summer Flowering Bulbs?

Growing summer flowering bulbs in your garden offers a multitude of advantages, making them a popular choice for many gardeners.

Summer flowering bulbs provide a stunning array of vibrant colours, adding eye-catching beauty to your garden during the peak of the growing season.

Planting a variety of summer bulbs with staggered bloom times ensures a prolonged and continuous display of flowers throughout the summer. 

Summer bulbs can be used to complement the blooming periods of perennial plants. Integrating bulbs into perennial beds and borders ensures a seamless transition between different flowering plants, maintaining visual interest.

Many summer-blooming bulbs, such as lilies and gladioli, attract pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. 

Summer bulbs often make excellent cut flowers for floral arrangements. Bringing these blooms indoors allows you to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of your garden inside your home.

Once established, many summer bulbs are low-maintenance plants, requiring minimal care. They may naturalize, returning year after year, providing a reliable source of colour without extensive effort.

What to consider when choosing Summer Flowering Bulbs?

When selecting summer flowering bulbs for your garden, consider the following factors to ensure a successful and visually appealing display:

  • Understand the sunlight preferences of the bulbs. Some summer flowering bulbs, like dahlias and lilies, prefer full sun, while others, such as begonias, may thrive in partial shade. Ensure your chosen planting area aligns with the sunlight needs of the bulbs.
  • Consider the soil quality and drainage of your garden. Most bulbs prefer well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Amend the soil if necessary to create optimal growing conditions.
  • Choose a variety of bulbs with staggered bloom times to ensure a continuous display of flowers throughout the summer. Also, consider the duration of each bloom to plan for an extended and evolving garden.
  • Pay attention to the mature height and growth habit of the bulbs. Taller bulbs, like gladioli and lilies, are suitable for the back of borders, while shorter varieties, such as begonias, work well as front-row plants or in containers.

Top Summer Flowering Bulbs

  1. Allium: Delicate spheres of purple blossoms give way to extraordinary architectural seedheads, tempting you to resist snipping them for arrangements. Planting large clusters of allium bulbs serves as a beautiful bridge between late spring and high summer. These upright stems add structural elegance to sunny, well-drained borders. As the foliage ages and fades later in the season, let lower-growing perennials gracefully cover it.
  2. Oriental Lily: The unmistakable allure of the oriental lily lies in its flamboyant blooms and captivating fragrance. From towering tree lilies to low-ground cover varieties, there's an oriental lily suited for every garden. While these exotic blooms are surprisingly easy to grow, they truly shine when cultivated in containers. Keep them backstage until their blooms unfurl, then bring them into the spotlight, returning them behind the scenes as their splendour wanes.
  3. Begonia: Tuberous begonias, the epitome of glamour among bulbs, add vibrant colour accents to shaded patios. These beauties grace the garden with stunning flowers from summer until the first frost in November. Ideal for window boxes or hanging baskets, especially cascading varieties like Begonia 'Apricot Shades Improved,' which can be placed near doorways for optimal appreciation.
  4. Freesia: A delightful cut flower, freesias produce fragrant blooms on robust, arching stems. While they are half-hardy and thrive best in greenhouses or conservatories in most UK regions, in mild areas, the risk of growing them outside can be rewarded with their beauty gracing the garden.
  5. Gladiolus: Once considered old-fashioned, modern gladiolus hybrids, such as the vibrant Gladiolus 'Tango,' boast bright colours and ruffled blooms. Their majestic stems make a statement at the back of borders and shine even more in indoor vases. For a touch of elegant simplicity, consider the exquisite species Gladiolus murielae.
  6. Crocosmia: Fast-growing corms that multiply effortlessly, crocosmia add an exotic touch to summer borders. Upright, strap-like foliage and arching stems adorned with starry flowers in red, orange, or yellow create a vibrant display. These blooms also make lovely additions to fiery-colored floral arrangements.
  7. Bearded Iris: Classic cottage garden tubers and bearded irises are beloved for their ruffled blooms and sturdy foliage. Many varieties offer a light fragrance, making them ideal for summer flower arrangements. With a myriad of colours available, consider planting bearded irises in groups for maximum impact in sunny, open spots.
  8. Dahlia: Magnificently architectural, dahlias steal the show in sunny herbaceous borders, serving as distinctive focal points. With a spectrum of vibrant colours, dahlias allow for creative planting schemes, from tropical vibrancy to elegant pastels. Drought-tolerant and flowering into autumn with regular deadheading, dahlias are ideal for cutting and adorning summer bouquets.

When to plant Summer Flowering Bulbs

In the UK, the optimal time to plant summer flowering bulbs typically falls in the spring. However, the specific timing can vary based on the type of bulb and local weather conditions. Here are some general guidelines for when to plant summer flowering bulbs in the UK:

For most summer flowering bulbs, late spring is the ideal time to plant in the UK. This is after the last expected frost date, which is typically in April or May, depending on your specific location. Planting after the risk of frost has passed ensures that the soil has warmed up, promoting healthy growth.

Tender bulbs and tubers, such as dahlias, gladioli, and begonias, are susceptible to frost. It's recommended to wait until late spring to plant these bulbs in the UK. Planting them too early may result in damage from late frosts.

If you are planting summer flowering bulbs in containers, you can start a bit earlier in the spring. Containers tend to warm up faster than garden soil, allowing for an earlier planting date. Ensure that the containers have proper drainage to prevent waterlogging.

Some bulbs, such as autumn crocuses, are exceptions and are planted in the fall. These bulbs bloom in late winter to early spring, adding colour to the garden during different seasons.

Refer to the specific recommendations provided by the supplier or the packaging of the bulbs you have purchased. Different bulbs may have slightly different planting times and requirements.

When planting summer flowering bulbs in the UK, it's essential to pay attention to local weather patterns, frost dates, and the specific needs of each type of bulb. By planting at the appropriate time, you give the bulbs the best chance to establish strong roots and produce vibrant blooms during the summer months.

Where to Plant Summer Bedding Plants

The choice of where to plant summer bedding plants depends on the specific needs and characteristics of the plants you have selected.

Most summer bedding plants thrive in full sunlight. Choose planting locations that receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Be mindful of the specific sunlight preferences of the plants you have, as some may tolerate partial shade.

Ensure the soil is well-draining and rich in nutrients. Amend the soil with organic matter if needed. Some summer bedding plants prefer slightly acidic or alkaline soil, so consider the pH requirements of your chosen plants.

Summer bedding plants are commonly used to add colour to flower beds and borders. Plant them in well-prepared soil, allowing for proper spacing between plants to avoid overcrowding as they grow.

Many summer bedding plants are well-suited for containers and hanging baskets. Use a high-quality potting mix and ensure containers have drainage holes. Hanging baskets can be placed in locations with adequate sunlight, such as on porches or suspended from hooks.

Consider planting summer bedding plants in window boxes attached to the exterior of your home. This is a great way to add colour and visual interest to windowsills and balconies.

Some summer bedding plants, especially those with low-growing or trailing habits, can be incorporated into rock gardens. Ensure the soil is well-draining, and the plants receive the necessary sunlight.

Enhance your outdoor living spaces by placing summer bedding plants in planters on patios and decks. Ensure the planters have proper drainage and consider the overall aesthetic when selecting plant varieties.

Use summer bedding plants to create colourful borders along paths or walkways. This not only adds visual appeal but also defines and enhances the structure of your garden.

If you want to attract pollinators, consider planting summer bedding plants in areas dedicated to wildlife gardening. Bees and butterflies are often drawn to the nectar-rich blooms of these plants.

Take into account the mature height and growth habit of the plants. Taller varieties may be suitable for the back of flower beds while lower-growing plants can be used as edging or in the foreground.

Always check the specific requirements of the summer bedding plants you have chosen and tailor the planting locations accordingly. Proper placement ensures that the plants receive the right amount of sunlight, soil conditions, and space to thrive and contribute to a stunning summer garden.

Why buy Summer Bedding Plants from Marshalls Garden?

  • We have more than 70 years experience of in producing top-quality Summer Flowering Bulbs and helping gardeners like you get the best results. Check out our growing guides for more information on how to maximise your garden.
  • You can contact us six days a week with any queries about our products and services, or if you need advice on what to do in your garden.  
  • We offer express delivery as standard and despatch all summer bedding orders within 24 hours. 
  • We won silver in the Best Online Retailer category at the 2022 Great British Growing Awards.
  • We're proud of our thousands of five-star reviews on Feefo and offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all our products.