Summer-blooming gladiolas are a favorite in bouquets.
Mention flowering bulbs and most people think of daffodils and tulips. But there's another category of bulbs — those that bloom in summer and add sizzling color in July and August. Some of my favorite, easy-to-grow summer bulbs are dahlias, gladiolas, and elephant ears (Alocasia or Colocasia spp.). Others are begonias, caladiums, cannas, and peacock orchids. Note that some of these "bulbs" are, botanically speaking, corms or tubers.
These summer-blooming bulbs orginate from the tropics and are finicky about cold weather. They won't survive if you sneak them into the ground too early in the season or before the threat of frost is over. Wait until the frost-free date in your area to set bulbs into the ground. For a jump on the season, you can pre-plant the bulbs in containers and get them started indoors. This will encourage them to bloom three to four weeks earlier than normal. Starting indoors is especially helpful for slow-growing elephant ears, which love sunshine, heat, and high humidity.
Dahlias will bloom continuously until fall.
Caladiums are perfect for part shade.