Pick up know-how for tackling diseases, pests and weeds.
Farm bill, farm marketing, agribusiness webinars, & farm policy.
Find tactics for healthy livestock and sound forages.
Scheduling and methods of irrigation.
Explore our Extension locations around the state.
Commercial row crop production in Arkansas.
Agriculture weed management resources.
Use virtual and real tools to improve critical calculations for farms and ranches.
Learn to ID forages and more.
Explore our research locations around the state.
Get the latest research results from our county agents.
Our programs include aquaculture, diagnostics, and energy conservation.
Keep our food, fiber and fuel supplies safe from disaster.
Private, Commercial & Non-commercial training and education.
Specialty crops including turfgrass, vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals.
Find educational resources and get youth engaged in agriculture.
Gaining garden smarts and sharing skills.
Creating beauty in and around the home.
Maintenance calendar, and best practices.
Coaxing the best produce from asparagus to zucchini.
What’s wrong with my plants? The clinic can help.
Featured trees, vines, shrubs and flowers.
Ask our experts plant, animal, or insect questions.
Enjoying the sweet fruits of your labor.
Herbs, native plants, & reference desk QA.
Growing together from youth to maturity.
Crapemyrtles, hydrangeas, hort glossary, and weed ID databases.
Get beekeeping, honey production, and class information.
Grow a pollinator-friendly garden.
Schedule these timely events on your gardening calendar.
Equipping individuals to lead organizations, communities, and regions.
Guiding communities and regions toward vibrant and sustainable futures.
Guiding entrepreneurs from concept to profit.
Position your business to compete for government contracts.
Find trends, opportunities and impacts.
Providing unbiased information to enable educated votes on critical issues.
Increase your knowledge of public issues & get involved.
Research-based connection to government and policy issues.
Support Arkansas local food initiatives.
Read about our efforts.
Preparing for and recovering from disasters.
Licensing for forestry and wildlife professionals.
Preserving water quality and quantity.
Cleaner air for healthier living.
Firewood & bioenergy resources.
Managing a complex forest ecosystem.
Read about nature across Arkansas and the U.S.
Learn to manage wildlife on your land.
Soil quality and its use here in Arkansas.
Learn to ID unwanted plant and animal visitors.
Timely updates from our specialists.
Eating right and staying healthy.
Ensuring safe meals.
Take charge of your well-being.
Cooking with Arkansas foods.
Making the most of your money.
Making sound choices for families and ourselves.
Nurturing our future.
Get tips for food, fitness, finance, and more!
Understanding aging and its effects.
Giving back to the community.
Managing safely when disaster strikes.
Listen to our latest episode!
When you say bulbs, most people think of spring blooming bulbs such as daffodils and
tulips, but there is a whole range of summer bulbs that grace our gardens. Some are
winter hardy and are grown as perennials, while others are tender and must be lifted
and stored for the winter months.
Summer bulbs include elephant ears, caladiums, dahlias, gladiolus, lilies, lycoris (surprise lilies), amaryllis and pineapple lilies. Summer
bulbs can be just as easy to grow as daffodils and give you loads of color in foliage
and/or flowers, and will actually bloom longer than their spring counterparts.
Bulbs are self-sufficient storage organs, and are versatile in the landscape. There
are bulbs for partial shade as well as full sun. All bulbous plants have similar life
cycles. They go through periods of growth and flowering, followed by a dormancy period.
Bulbs are usually sold in their dormant, dry state. When planted, they being to initiate
rooms, and the stems inside the bulbs begin to grow. The plants utilize their stored
food reserves, and the shoots begin to emerge. When they begin flowering, the storage
organ or bulb, is empty of food. After bloom, they need to replenish the storage organ
for the upcoming dormancy.
When choosing bulbs ( or rhizomes, corms, and tubers, which we collectively call bulbs,
and are generally planted in the same manner), look for large bulbs, which are firm
and blemish free. The size of the bulb determines the size of the flower. Remember,
everything is already contained inside your bulb when you purchase them. Quality bulbs
will give you a wonderful show, and should keep giving for years with a little care.
Bargain bulbs may not end up being such a bargain.
When planting your bulbs, you can dig individual holes for each bulb (which can be
difficult in our rocky soils) or mass plant. It is often easier to dig up a larger
planting area, scatter your bulbs in, and then fill the soil back in. A general rule
of planting depth is to plant two to three times the size of the bulb, deep in the
ground. Small bulbs are planted shallow, while big bulbs need a deeper hole. You can
layer different bulbs in the same planting area. Choose a site with good drainage–especially
in the winter. Standing water and bulbs is not a good combination. When planting bulbs,
grouping them together in clusters will make a stronger impact than a single row of
Caladiums are annuals and must be replanted each year, or they can be lifted and stored
for the winter before a killing frost.
Some caladium bulbs will do well in full sun, but there are so many sun-loving options
that one may relegate this bulb to the shade or partial shade areas of the garden.
They will be up almost instantly in warm soils, since they are heat lovers. Caladiums
are heat-loving plants, so don't be eager to plant them early in the spring. Planting
caladiums in cold soil can stunt their growth cycle.
If you can’t find the bulbs, you can find caladium plants that are already growing
in a pot. The foliage can come in shades of white, pink or red with many different
leaf patterns. If you have heavy shade, you may consider choosing the light pink or
white varieties to brighten things up.
Still have questions about caladium? Check out our reference desk Q & A
Elephant ears is the common name for a variety of plants including alocasia, colocasia and xanthosoma.
Regardless of what you call them, most of them get large, although dwarf ones are
available. The leaf color can vary from the common green elephant ear to black ones
(Black Magic) to lime green (Lime Zinger) to mottled green and purple (Mojito) with
many other options.
Elephant ears add a bold, tropical look to the landscape in borders, mass plantings
or in containers. While they will grow ok in pots, they do much better and get larger
if planted in the ground. They do best with morning sun or filtered sun and afternoon
shade. Provide copious water and fertilizer as the plants grow, especially if you
are growing them in containers, as they are heavy feeders.
Common elephant ears are winter hardy statewide and should come back year after year,
but some of the more decorative varieties with variegated or dark foliage are only
moderately hardy. To protect your investment and to ensure you have these bulbs every
year, you should lift and store them either before a frost or immediately after one.
Still have questions about elephant ears? Check out our reference desk Q & A
Lycoris (surprise lilies), cannas, lilies, and pineapple lilies (Euchomis) are considered winter hardy in Arkansas, and can be left in the ground from year to year.
Canna lilies do best in full sun, but do like water and nutrition. Flower colors can
range from pink, red, yellow and orange, while foliage can be solid green, red, or
yellow and green striped (Bengal Tiger) or multi-colored stripe (Tropicana). There
are tall varieties getting 6 feet tall or higher, but dwarf introductions can be in
the 3 foot range. They multiply quickly, so consider dividing them every few years
to improve their blooming. These flowers can be divided as they emerge in the spring,
or you can lift the bulbs in the fall and store for the winter, then divide and replant
in the spring.
The Asiatic lilies are very easy to grow, along with the orange and black spotted
tiger lilies, and the large dramatic oriental lilies which includes the stargazer lily.
Plant lilies in a well-drained site in full sun and enjoy their magnificent blooms
annually. For the taller varieties, perennial stakes will help to keep them upright.
The foliage can be cut back when it begins to turn yellow and starts the die-back
process. Lilies that are too crowded, can also be dug, divided and then immediately
replanted in the fall.
A variety of gladiolus bulbs are available for the garden. Some are hardier than others.
Just like with caladiums, some gardeners treat their gladiolus as annuals and plant
new bulbs each spring, but they too can be lifted and stored for the winter.
They are treated a little differently than other summer bulbs, since gladiolus corms
can be stored in the open, without the protection of peat moss or other filler. They
produce corms which can be dug any time after the foliage has died back. Let them
air dry for 2-3 weeks, then store them loose in a paper or mesh bag.
Gladiolus bulbs are great cut flowers. Outside in the garden they too would benefit
from a perennial stake to hold them upright. Many gardeners plant a row of these next
to their vegetable garden and use them indoors all summer long. Cut just the flower
stalk when the first bloom begins to open and they can easily last two weeks or more
inside. Leave the foliage behind to generate food so the bulbs will come back next
Many gardeners stock up during the holiday season on amaryllis bulbs.
The showy large bulbs are not supposed to survive our winters outdoors, but it can be successful. Many gardeners
wait until a killing frost and then add an extra layer of mulch and wait until spring
to check on survival. Others lift the bulbs as fall is ending and cut the foliage
off. They then bring them indoors, pot them up and store in a cool, dry place and
wait for new growth to begin. Once they see the bulbs begin to sprout, begin watering
and move them into a sunny location. Typically they will be in bloom in 6-8 weeks
The foliage grows for 8-10 weeks then disappears. 6-8 weeks later the naked stems
pop up with beautiful pink trumpet-shaped blooms. The red spider-like surprise lily
(Lycoris radiata) keeps its foliage all winter. It dies back in the spring and the
plants pop up with their naked stems with red blooms in late summer through early
fall. While red is the most common, there are yellow, orange and white blooming amaryllis
Still have questions? Try digging up answers in our reference desk Q & A
The list above is just a sprinkling of summer bulbs, there are a wide range of others
to choose from. Do your homework when planning your garden. Make sure you have something
blooming in all seasons, and adding some of these low care summer-blooming bulbs into
your summer-time mix will give you plenty of color.
Download the Landscaping Problem Guide