Whether you want to add some colour to herbaceous borders without taking up too much room or simply brighten up a corner of a patio, summer bulbs provide the ideal answer. This article will focus on planting summer flowering bulbs in outdoor planters and will include varieties particularly suited to this purpose. It doesn’t really matter what type of container you use to plant your bulbs in, you just have to remember to use a planter large enough for the bulb or bulbs you are planting and provide plenty of good drainage by adding gravel or broken crocks to the bottom of your pot.
Amaryllis belladonna or belladonna lily is a very dramatic, pink trumpet, lily-like bulb that make excellent showy plants for a greenhouse or a large conservatory. Plant these bulbs in deep planters using a loam-based compost with added grit. Once planted don’t overwater. These bulbs will need protection over the winter. If you want a showy bulb to plant amongst colourful summer bedding plants in outdoor planters then choose Cannas.
These bulbs grow into tall flowers with bold leaves and spear shaped flowers. You will need a good sized 2 or 3 litre container and a rich loam-based compost. For a stunning display of purely cannas, plant three or four bulbs together in a 6 litre container. Eucomis or Pineapple Flower make great showcase plants for outdoor planters on patios and decking. Once in flower they are long lasting and will flower well into the autumn. Plant up to three bulbs in a large deep pot and use a loam-based compost with added grit. Once they begin to emerge, the plants will need plenty of water and a weekly feed with tomato feed during the summer. Slugs and snails love them, so be vigilant once the young leaves appear.
Some bulbs actually do best in containers. Nerines for example do well in pots permanently. This lovely pink late summer/early autumn flowering bulb likes to remain settled once it is planted. Use a loam-based compost mixed with grit making sure you leave the tips of the bulbs showing through the surface. If you have heavy clay soil and you want to plant lilies, then you are best to plant them in outdoor planters. This doesn’t have to dictate where you place them as pots and containers can be easily slotted into gaps in flower borders (a good tip is to use black plastic containers which become invisible once placed among other plants in a border). Use compost mixed with grit for planting and feed well during flowering.