Also called the Canna Lily because the flowers resemble a lily flower. Canna bulbs have both flowers and FOLIAGE in many unique colors and patterns. Broad leaves and the lily like flowers add a distinct lush, tropical, and exotic look into gardens. Canna are very versatile bulbs that will thrive in containers, planting beds and also ponds or water gardens making it a good choice for problematic wet areas. Because of its tropical nature we recommend locations with morning sun only unless it is in a wet area or pond. Storing bulbs is easy like the Dahlia. Just allow frost to kill the foliage in fall, dig and store the roots over winter in a dry medium in a cool dry dark area.
Gladiolus has nearly 300 difference species and produce fragrant flowers in nearly every color, including lime green. During the growing season remove old flowers to encourage reblooming but leave foliage to die naturally so the plant can store energy in new corms to get bigger the following year. When the leaves do die the corm may be dug up and stored in a cool place to planted again next spring. Pack bulbs in a medium such as perlite, vermiculite, or peat moss and store in a cool, dry, and dark place.
The Lily is an often under-utilized summer flowering bulb in perennial gardens and container gardens. Most Lilies are fragrant and all are tough, hardy perennial plants that once established in your garden will continue to perform for you year after year with little care. Lilies come in many different species and varieties including Asiatic Lilies, Oriental Lilies, Trumpet Lilies, and the very different Calla Lilies. Calla Lilies are long lasting smaller bell shaped flowers in pinks, purples, white, yellow, and orange. Callas will do best in a morning sun only environment. Asiatic, Oriental, and Trumpet Lilies grow taller with amazing trumpet shaped flowers in a vast amount of different colors and patterns. The plant itself grows small grass like leaves before erupting in blooms adding fragrant texture and color contrast to perennial gardens.
Tuberous Begonias range in color from white, yellow and orange to deep red. Flowers are usually double and bloom for a long period. You can purchase Begonias as a greenhouse grown plant or as tubers earlier in the year. Begonias do best when protected from the afternoon sun. They also don’t like being wet all the time. With this in mind it is important to allow for good drainage and MIX IN organic material such as compost or peat moss when planting the tubers. Begonia tubers can be saved and stored in similar ways to the Dahlia and Gladiolus by letting frost kill foliage before digging up and storing in vermiculite in a cool, dry, dark place.
CALADIUM & CALOCOSIA
Although neither Caladium nor Calocosia (Elephant Ears) produce many showy flowers the large colorful leaves offer tropical color and texture to Colorado gardens. Leaf colors range from Green to mixes of green, red, pink and white. The leaves of Elephant Ears can reach over 3’ in length. Caladium can also be purchased as a greenhouse grown plant later in the season. Because of the large leaves it is best to keep both Caladium and Elephant Ears protected from the afternoon sun. Both have similar storage to Canna, Begonia or Dahlia. Allow winter frost to kill foliage and leave in the ground allow bulbs to go fully dormant. Then store in a dry medium in a cool, dry dark place until spring planting. What ever your skill level planting bulbs can be a very easy way to add lush color to any yard. Most bulbs come in packs to get the most bang for your buck. Easy care, easy planting and countless options for color and size, you cannot go wrong when you are thinking bulbs.
Dahlias come in a wide range of plant and flower sizes from small golf ball size flowers to the striking dinner plate size. Larger Dahlias may require support because of their height and flower size in the form of a simple bamboo stake pushed into the ground behind the bulb. It’s important to pinch the tops of the Dahlia after several leaves have formed to encourage lateral growth to allow room for more flowers to form. The vegetative parts of Dahlias do not tolerate frost but there have been reports of the bulbs surviving in the ground in warmer areas close to houses, but this is not recommended in Colorado. Dahlias will continue to bloom all season providing great color. To store the bulbs, or tubers, for next season allow the vegetation to be killed by frost and prune back the stalks to 6 inches. Leave the tuberous roots in the ground for two weeks to harden. Dig carefully so the tuberous roots do not break away from the clump. If the clump separates, there is a risk of ‘blind roots’ that do not produce a shoot because there is not vegetative ‘eyes,’ like a potato. Dry the tuberous roots enough to shake off excess soil, and like Dahlias pack in peat moss, vermiculite or perlite and store in a cool, dry dark place until spring.