Since it is that time a year when we are all planting or getting ready to plant our bulbs for summer color, we thought we might share some tips & tidbits on your Dahlias, Gladiolus, Begonias, Calla & Canna Lilies, Caladium & more! Just think of all the beautiful flowers that will be blooming this summer! Warmer areas can plant now but don’t forget for those of us in the Northeast and areas of the Midwest, you don’t want to jump the gun just because of the warm spring……plant when you normally do each year, after all chance of frost has passed and ground tempertures are 65-70 degrees.
Dahlias – Select a sunny (sun for 5-6 hours) location protected from strong winds. Dahlias grow best in fertile, well-drained soil; they are not tolerant of water-logged soils. Dahlias are very sensitive to freezing temperatures. Large tuberous roots may be planted about 2 weeks before the last spring frost date. Small tuberous roots and transplants should not be planted until all danger from frost has passed. Spacing between the plants depends upon the cultivar and method of growing: rows, beds, or borders. Large-flowering dahlias should be spaced 3 to 4 ft apart; smaller dahlias can be spaced 2 ft apart.
Gladiolus – Gladiolus grow best in loose, well-drained soil in full sun (5-6 hours). After last frost, dig a trench per instructions and firmly place bulbs on soil, pointed ends up, 6″ apart. In a flower border, plant a group of at least 10 bulbs for best effect. Cover with remaining soil. Water well. Tip: Begin planting in mid-spring and continue to plant every two weeks until mid-July for flowers throughout the summer. Bulbs will bloom from 70-100 days from this type of planting, depending on the lateness in the season. Tall-growing varieties may need staking. Water well throughout the growing season. For colder regions dig up the corms 4-6 weeks after the flowers fade. Remove as much soil as possible and cut off flower stalk 1″ above corm. Dry and store the bulbs indoors for the winter.
Begonias – Once planted and the shoots are showing, be sure to water. Begonias like a well drained soil. Dead heading regularly will keep the blooms big & beautiful, however this is not required. In colder areas, once they stop blooming in fall, dig and store your tubers until spring. Dig them, clean them off, cover with dry sand, peat moss and store them in a cool, dry and well ventilated place over the winter months. 50-55 degrees is ideal.
Calla Lilies - This beautiful plant is ideal for use in beds and borders as well as bouquets. You can also grow calla lilies in containers, either outdoors or within a sunny window as houseplants. It is easy to grow calla lilies. These plants do not generally require too much. Proper planting and location are about the only important things to consider when growing calla lilies. Care of calla lilies requires that they be planted in loose, well-drained soil. They prefer to be located in full sun or partial shade in warmer climates. Calla lilies are typically planted in the spring. However, wait until the threat of frost has passed and the soil has warmed sufficiently before planting your calla lilies. Sometimes Callas will grow rapidly but fail to bloom, this is usually caused by either too much nitrogen, lack of water or sun. Calla lilies should be planted rather deep, about four inches for greater results, and spaced approximately a foot apart. Once planted, the area should be watered well. Calla lilies enjoy being kept moist and will also benefit from a monthly dose of fertilizer throughout the growing season. If you are bring Callas inside during the winter, you need to give them a dormant period. You can do this very easily. Once the calla lily plant has stopped blooming, stop providing water to it. Allow it to go bone dry. The foliage will die back and the plant will appear to be dead. Place it in a cool (not cold) dark place for 2 months. After this, bring it back out into the light and resume watering it. The foliage will regrow and your calla lily plant will start to bloom shortly after this.
Canna Lilies – Cannas require a minimal amount of care and, in return, they provide a long season of beauty. Canna rhizomes, or root stalks, may be planted when all danger of frost has passed. Plant in a fertile to average moist soil and full sun which we consider at least 6 hours. Set plants 12 to 15 inches deep and 1 to 4 feet apart. Plants must be watered if rainfall is less than one inch per week. Frequently water container-grown canna lilies. Cannas can grow to heights of 16 inches to 6 feet so taller varieties should be staked and kept out of strong winds.
Asian Lilies – Select a location that provides good light sun in the morning. These lilies can be grown in partial shade and may benefit from some shading in the hot afternoon sun. Avoid fully shaded areas. Tucking them into tight spaces around the yard will bring a splash of color and add interest to your gardening area. Lilies naturalize easily and are simply stunning along walkways or along the borders of your yard. Plant Asian lilies to a depth of 10 inches and cover with soil. Firm the soil down with your hands and water thoroughly to settle the bulbs and get them off to a good start. Mulch with a layer of straw or leaves in late fall to protect them from winter weather. For best results, plant lilies in groups of three, five or even seven. Odd numbers provide a more natural look than even pairs of plants.
Oriental, Trumpet & Tiger Lilies – Select a location that provides good light sun in the morning. These lilies can be grown in partial shade and may benefit from some shading in the hot afternoon sun. Faces should be in the sun, feet in the shade but avoid fully shaded areas. Tucking them into tight spaces around the yard will bring a splash of color and add interest to your gardening area. Lilies naturalize easily and are simply stunning along walkways or along the borders of your yard. Mulch with a layer of straw or leaves in late fall to protect them from winter weather. For best results, plant lilies in groups of three, five or even seven. Odd numbers provide a more natural look than even pairs of plants.
Martagon Lilies – Martagon lilies usually bloom from late June to mid July . Most reach to at least 4 feet tall and may carry as many as 40 or 50 Turks-cap-like blooms. They are extremely hardy and very long lived and will not require division for many years. While not extremely fast to spread, most martagons will clump up in time to become a permanent fixture in your perennial bed.
Caladium – Caladiums like well drained soil, if the area puddles after a good rain, you should probably look somewhere else to plant your bulbs. They should be moist – not soggy. Where most plants don’t tolerate shade well – most caladiums love shady areas! Where your favorite flower will bloom for a week or two, these plants will provide that additional color and texture all summer. Plant the bulbs about 1 1/2 – 2 inches deep with the knobby side up (these are actually the “eyes” or growing points). When the temps go below 60° and stay there when cooler weather or fall/winter is approaching, harvest the bulbs & leaves, let them dry for a week or so, trim off the tops and store the bulbs in a dry (use paper bags or peat moss) warm area for planting next spring. The bulbs go dormant in the winter as they like to have a period of rest.