Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Bulbs

Summer Bulbs (page 7 of 7)

by Michael MacCaskey

Spring Calla Lily (Zantedeschia)

Unlike the common white calla lilies that are mostly available in the fall, spring callas are the more delicate and more colorful hybrids you've perhaps seen in florists' shops. Flowers are familiar-shaped calla flowers--a colorful 4- to 5-inch bract surrounding an upright spike covered with minute flowers. But instead of white, colors are light yellow (Z. albomaculata), golden yellow (Z. elliottiana), or pink (Z. rehmannii). 'Gem' is rosy lavender; other assorted unnamed hybrids include shades of apricot, orange and purple. In all cases, bloom appears late spring and early summer. Plants grow about 2 feet high. Spring callas need moderately acid soil, generous amounts of moisture with good drainage and a resting period. All are excellent in pots. Plant rhizomes about 2 inches deep, one per 6-inch pot.

Rain lily (Zephyranthes)

These charming, grassy-leaved bulbs take their name from their habit of blooming after a rain. Plant them in your lawn, between stepping stones, around trees and shrubs and in containers with larger plants. Wonderful naturalizers, they'll multiply, surprise and please you midsummer on for years. Height is 5 to 8 inches; colors are white, yellow, pink and rose. Plant tiny bulbs about 1 inch deep in spring after the last frost. Mulch heavily in fall, or if soil freezes, lift and store bulbs.

Michael MacCaskey is editorial director at National Gardening.

Photography by Suzanne DeJohn

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