When to Plant
Since summer-flowering bulbs require soft soil and plenty of sunlight, you should only plant summer bulbs when the danger of frost has passed. Because most summer bulbs originate in sub-tropical areas, summer bulbs have a low tolerance for cold weather conditions. For those who live in colder climates (zones 2-6), it can be difficult to determine when to plant your summer bulbs due to sporadic snowfall. To ensure that your bulbs grow successfully outdoors, plant them when the temperature remains above 60° F for at least 10 days straight.
How to Plant
Step 1. Choose Your Site
Before you choose your gardening site, check the labels of your chosen bulbs to determine where to plant them. Since hardy bulbs and tender bulbs require different amounts of sunlight, you must be selective when choosing your planting place. After you've established how much sunlight your bulbs will need, try to find an area in your yard that will provide enough sunlight as well as good drainage. Ideal places include slopes, berms, raised beds and any other site where water can drain freely.
Step 2. Prep the Soil
Begin preparing your site's soil by turning it over to a depth of 18 inches with a garden spade. Then, loosen the soil with a garden cultivator to aerate the soil. Once your soil is well aerated, use a bow rake to incorporate equal parts sphagnum peat moss, perlite and vermiculite into the topsoil; this combination of nutrients will improve the overall drainage and water-holding capacity of your soil so your summer bulbs will bloom beautifully all summer long.
Step 3. Place & Plant
When you're ready to plant your bulbs, make sure that you plant them at the correct depth. To determine the proper planting depth, you should consult your bulbs' packaging. However, if you are not provided with an exact depth, simply plant each bulb at a depth equal to two or three times its diameter. After you've settled the planting depth for all of your bulb varieties, use a bulb planter to place and plant your bulbs with the pointed ends up. Then, cover the bulbs with topsoil, a 2 inch layer of organic compost and a sprinkling of blood meal.
Step 4. General Maintenance
Once your bulbs have been suitably situated, you can encourage early rooting by watering them. Moisten the soil with a couple inches of water so the soil is damp but not saturated. Continue to water the bulbs with about an inch of water each week. As the bulbs begin to bud, surround your sprouts with a layer of fertilizer to accelerate the growing process. Generally, one application of fertilizer is enough to provide your bulbs with enough nutrients to produce healthy foliage and longer-lasting blooms.