Cannas are grown for foliage and flowers, with dramatic foliage colors available, with flowers in shades of red, pink, yellow and orange.

Plant a summer symphony of bulb beauties

Gardeners plant bulbs as an easy way to add color, but most people consider only spring-blooming bulbs like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths. There are many bulbs that can be planted now for summer enjoyment.

Whether you are looking for foliage or flowers, plants for sun or shade, there are plenty of options with summer bulbs. You can find dried bulbs for planting as well as potted bulbs that are already growing. Some bulbs are annuals, and others are long-living perennials. Common bulbs are readily available at local nurseries, while more obscure or old-fashioned plants may need to be ordered online.

Bulb NamePlant FeaturesBloom SeasonCulture
AgapanthusClumps of grass-like foliage. About 2 to 4 feet in height. Showy, round clusters of blue, purple or white blooms.Late June to early AugustBest in full sun. Short-lived perennials but can be lifted and stored for the winter.
CaladiumsHeat-loving, showy foliage plants in a wide array of colors and patterns. About 1 to 3 feet in height. Traditionally a shade plant, but now sun options are available. Mixtures of green, white, red or pink. Frost to frostAll are annuals in Arkansas, but bulbs can be lifted and dried for the winter to be replanted. They like warm soil, so don’t plant too early.
Calla LiliesSpeckled or green leaves. Showy, trumpet-shaped flowers produced on 2- to 3-foot-tall plants. White was the traditional color, but now you can choose from yellow, orange, red, pink or purple. Blooms can be long-lasting.Mid-summerModerately hearty in southern half of the state. Can be lifted and stored for winter or grown as an annual. Full sun to partial shade.
CannasBulbs are grown for foliage and flowers. Plants can be 2- to 6-feet-tall. Dramatic foliage colors available, with flowers in shades of red, pink, yellow and orange. Early summer through fallLong-lived perennial in central and southern Arkansas. Could be lifted and stored for winter in northern tier. Cannas do best in full sun. Deadhead old blooms to keep them flowering.
Crinum LiliesLarge cluster of trumpet-shaped blooms in white or shades of pink. Large clumps of strap-shaped foliage. Old-fashionedplant for the South.Early to mid-summerFull sun to partial shade. Long-lived staple in southern two-thirds of the state. Needs room to grow.
CrocosmiaNarrow, grass-like foliage. About 2- to 3-feet-tall with spikes of orange, red or yellow blooms.Mid-summerBest in full sun. Foliage can be aggressive in shady areas with no flowers.
Elephant EarsDramatic, large-foliaged plants. Leaf color can be a variety of green shades, yellow, black (dark purple) or mottled. Mature size also varies. Elephant Ears is the common name for Alocasia, Colocasia and Xanthosoma. Many varieties to choose from.Summer through frostWinter hardiness varies by species. Most prefer shade in the afternoon and ample moisture. Large, dramatic foliage dies back in the winter.
GladiolusOld-fashioned plant, often used in a cutting garden. Tall, grass-like foliage, with a stalk of blooms, which open from the bottom and move upward. Flowers can last for up to two weeks in a vase. Wide range of colors. Plants are deer-resistant.Mid-summer through fallModerate perennial in half of the state. Full sun, well-drained soil, but ample moisture needed. Tall stems often need perennial stakes for added support.
LiliesMany species to choose from. Mature height can be 2 feet to more than 6 feet. Flowers add beauty and fragrance to the garden. Showy blooms are often fragrant. Colors vary tremendously from white to pink, purple, orange, yellow, red and bicolors. Mid-summer through fallGood perennial plant statewide. Best grown in full sun in a well-drained soil. Taller varieties benefit from staking. Will multiply.