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Summer bulbs in containers

Am a newbie and was looking at when is the best time to plant summer bulbs  and what ones will come back next year


  • Hello, Darren,

     Many summer flowering bulbs are not hardy, and unless they are given protection against frost and low temperatures in Winter they will not survive.
     Are you planning something like Agapanthus, which is lovely in a container? If so they will need protecting if you are in a cold area of the country ( are you in the UK?)
     Other summer flowers such as Dahlias can be started into growth next month, but not placed outside until the risk of frost has passed. Towards the end of the year they will then need protection as mentioned, or ideally removed from containers, (after frost has blackened the foliage) the tubers cleaned off and stored in a frost free place.
    A gardener's work is never at an end  - (John Evelyn 1620-1706)
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,309
    What kind of bulbs @darren hanson 134?
    Lilies would normally be planted in the next month or two if you have those. This is the time of year they're usually available. They will return each year.
    If you've got bulbs like alliums, they would normally be planted in autumn when they become available, but it doesn't matter - they're better in the ground, or pots, or they'll dry out and die. Some will return, some won't.
    If it's bulbs that aren't fully hardy, like Gladiolus, that would be different again. They'd need potting up and protected till after all danger of frosts etc are gone, or kept in a cool place to prevent them starting into too much growth, too early. They can be kept protected over winter to be replanted the following year, if you have a suitable place for them.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • It depends on how much room you have and the size of containers you can fit into your garden. The next deciding factor is the aspect of your garden, some bulbs prefer a good baking in the summer. A windy site would mean having to stake taller growing flowers, a very damp/wet climate would probably reduce your choice as a lot of bulbs prefer good drainage or they will rot. 
    Take a note book to a garden centre, choose the bulbs you like the look of, read the care instructions on the packaging and make notes, take a large pinch of salt and then go home, before buying any of them and look them up on the RHS web site. You will find out if any of your choice are vigorous or multiply quickly, for that read invasive, tender, read will die easily, need lifting each year during the winter, have you anywhere cool, dark and dry to store boxes of bulbs for approx. 6 months or would you be happy to treat bulbs as annuals and buy new ones each year, which is what I do with tulips.
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