8 Summer Flowering Bulbs To Plant In Containers This Spring

Think of flowering bulbs and you may automatically think of spring but there’s a wide range of easy to grow bulbs to choose from that will deliver a burst of colour all summer long.  Growing summer flowering bulbs in cast stone planters, just as the warmer weather starts to kick in, is ideal for gardens of all sizes.  Plus, container planting is so versatile, allowing for the easy repositioning of your favourite blooms to your prime outdoor spot before moving them out of view when they start to die back.  In this week’s blog, we share eight of our favourite summer flowering bulbs, tubers and corms that thrive in containers.


Eight summer flowering bulbs that thrive in containers


Originating from South America, Dahlia Tubers were originally eaten back in the 18th century when they were actually classed as a vegetable. However, just like the Victorians who adored their magnificent flowers, we prefer the summery and  floral display that Dahlias never fail to deliver. With over 20,000 Dahlia cultivars, there is a bewildering choice on offer, from the zesty yellow punch of Dahlia Boom Boom Yellow which works particularly well in a tropical planting scheme, or the softer, gentle blush of Dahlia Yellow Jill, which suits cottage gardens and more traditional plots. The ultimate herbaceous border perennial, Dahlias are a summer wedding or cut flower display staple.  Drought-tolerant, Dahlias will flower into the autumn with regular deadheading and thrive in planters. The Haddonstone Croyland Vase features a classic, stylised leaf design which would pair beautifully with dahlias of any kind.  Like all our cast stone planters, this traditional vase is frost-proof and can be left outside throughout the winter, well after the flowering season finishes.


Dramatic, fragrant and flamboyant, Gladioli demand attention. These tall, showy blooms are available in a medley of colours. If you like hot pinks, magentas and purples, be sure to look out for Gladiolus Byzantius, Nanus or Purple Flora.  They will transform your garden with their tropical, ‘look at me’ display.  Gladioli corms grow well in large planters throughout the growing season or can be transplanted to the backs of borders as soon as they come into flower.  Beautiful left outdoors, or ideal for cut flower displays throughout the summer.

We think the ruffled flowers of Gladioli match perfectly with the Art Nouveau-esque curved lines and leaf design of our stunning Galle Vase.

  • Allium


A favourite late spring to summer flower, to be found in both contemporary and traditional gardens alike, who could resist adding architectural alliums to their outside space? With straight as soldiers upright stems, alliums, commonly known as the ornamental onion, are available in purples, whites, blues and magentas, and add structure, interest and form to any garden. They grow well in planters and troughs positioned in a sheltered, sunny spot, with well-drained soil. The large, showy flowers of Allium Purple Sensation form intriguing seed heads towards the latter half of the season, which add charm to cut flower arrangements. Plant lower growing perennials or pots in front of your alliums as part of a display to help hide their unsightly old foliage once it starts to die back. Let lower growing perennials cover the old foliage when it becomes unsightly and dies back later in the season. Our Etruscan Vase, with its classic campana shape and gadrooning detailing is an ideal container for planting allium in any colour.


Technically a corm, but we simply could not exclude exotic crocosmia from this list! This fast-growing, fuss-free summer flowering perennial produces a fiery festival of colour in reds, oranges and yellows, to be enjoyed outdoors as part of any garden scheme. Crocosmia stems also make a statement in a cut flower display. A genus of the iris family, crocosmia is native to southern and eastern Africa and flourishes in sun or partial shade. Capture the colours of the African savannah with Crocosmia Lucifer, Spitfire and Sunglow, each producing clumps of multi-stem flowers, which given half a chance, will happily multiply and take over any available border. That’s why opting to plant these beautiful blooms in a container is a good idea, especially when space is at a premium. Provide lots of space and your crocosmia will thrive. Our stately Gothic Jardiniere has this in abundance!


With picture-perfect prettiness and fragrant aromas, freesias are a cut flower arrangement favourite and as some of the best bulbs for container planting, we love their versatility too. Freesias are tender summer flowering herbaceous perennials, so giving these bulbs a head start in the autumn inside a warm greenhouse, before transferring them outside when the weather really starts to warm up in spring is best to avoid disappointment. Freesia corms tend to be sold in mixed, rather than individual colours, so try specialist bulb suppliers if you have a special colour in mind. Freesia Double Mixed is a popular option, producing an array of semi and fully double flowers in a range of gratifying colours. Whether you intend to plant freesias as part of a mixed display, or on their own, we think the traditional woven basketwork design of our Tudor Jardiniere would work especially well.


No cottage garden would be complete without the billowy clouds of cheery phlox. With a long flowering season, from early spring right through until the first frosts of winter, diminutive phlox is also surprisingly fuss-free. Grown in containers, Creeping Phlox will provide cascades of sweety scented flowers in a joyful array of colours, for months on end. It’s not just us who enjoy what phlox has to offer. Pollinators including bees, butterflies and wasps love them too.  Choose a large cast stone planter or container to grow all varieties of phlox – they will fill it in no time at all! Our Large Orleans Bowl has ample growing room and we think any creeping phlox variety will cascade beautifully over the sides of this special planter when elevated on our Large Georgian Pedestal.


As China’s national flower, the glorious peony has been cultivated since as early as 1000 BC. And from the Victoria era onwards, no English country garden has been complete without at least one peony plant. Boasting large, show-stopping flowers densely packed with ruffled petals, peonies will thrive in full sun and high-quality soil. Available in an assortment of candy colours, some varieties of peonies can live for over 100 years. We love the candyfloss softness of Peony Sarah Bernhardt and the opulent richness of Peony Double Red.

Peony foliage branches out widely, and their colossal flower heads will simply flop without support, so they need to be housed in a large container like our Herculean Bowl, which has the necessary drainage holes that all peony plants need. Relatively easy to grow, peonies do not like to be moved, so it’s best to wait a couple of years until they are fully established before transplanting.


Otherwise known as Persian buttercups, ranunculus is an ideal summer flowering tuber for container planting. With layered, papery flowers, ranunculus makes a lovely alternative to roses and provides bounteous pastel or vibrant colourful blooms. Ranunculus bulbs are easy to grow and should be left in pots and planters to store their energy until the following season, but be mindful to bring pots indoors to prevent waterlogging and rot. Prune dead foliage and flowers during the growing season for a continuous show of flowers until autumn. Ranunculus needs room to spread out, so choose a wide based planter like our Romanesque Bowl, which is available in a choice of five traditional cast stone colours.  A mixed bag of ranunculus tubers would be perfect for this planter, or go for simplicity with Ranunculus White or the pinker than pink Ranunculus Asiaticus Pink Summer.

Handy guide to planting bulbs in containers:

  1. Plant summer flowering bulbs, tubers and corms just as the weather starts to warm up in spring
  2. Check that all your bulbs are healthy before planting, discarding rotten and soft bulbs, and look out for slugs and snails
  3. Use good quality general purpose compost, mixed with a handful of fine grit to improve drainage
  4. Choose quality planters with drainage holes – Haddonstone’s extensive range are all frost-resistant and come with drainage holes
  5. Bulbs should be planted with the pointed growing tip facing upwards
  6. As a rule of thumb, plant most bulbs at three times their depth and one bulb width apart
  7. Position containers in a warm, sunny location, especially for hardy bulbs native to dry, summer climates
  8. Water bulbs regularly during the growing and growing seasons, gradually reducing as the foliage dies back and they enter their dormant phase
  9. Promote optimum flowering the following season by feeding bulbs once a fortnight with a high-potassium fertiliser as soon as their shoots appear until the end of the season.

Feeling inspired?

Now is the perfect time to start planning your summer flowering bulb spectacle.

Our team are more than happy to assist you in choosing the right cast stone planters for whatever display you would like to achieve.

We have an extensive range of traditional and contemporary planters that are perfect for your summer blooms, so contact our friendly team for more information.

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