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Summer flowering bulbs

Published on August 23rd 2021

by Going.Local. All rights reserved

summer flowering bulbs
Tired of the same summer bulbs year in and year out? Well, do I have a surprise for you! From multicoloured teardrops to delicate perfumed blooms, we have it all. Let us dig a bit deeper into the gorgeous array of indigenous bulbs available for both summer and winter rainfall gardens.
Scadoxus in full bloom under the summer canopy.

Choosing bulbs to suit your region

Naturally, it is easier to grow bulbs in areas where they occur. This does not mean you cannot grow winter rainfall bulbs in a Highveld garden. You would need to keep them in containers under an awning or a spot out of the rain, but to true bulb lovers that is a small price to pay.
Tip | Some bulbs will require lifting and dividing to ensure a good flush of summer blooms.
Learning about the origin of a bulb (summer or winter rainfall) is crucial to keeping it happy. Some bulbs have either leaves or a flower (not both at the same time), while others have leaves year-round but will actively push out new leaves during the growing season. If you prefer not to have a bald spot with dormant bulbs, try planting in containers and placing them in the border as the flowers come into bloom.
Types of bulbs:
Winter growers- Push out leaves and replenishes the nutrients in the bulb during winter, storing it away for the drier months and/or producing a flower later in the year.
Summer growers- Follows the same cycle, but will actively grow in summer.
Blooming vs growing- A summer grower is not necessarily a summer flowering bulb.
Some bulbs may bloom within the same season as they are planted, like Amaryllis (blooms roughly 1 month after spring planting). Other bulbs may need a season/year to establish and will bloom next year. Getting them in the ground now will give them a good jumpstart.
Eucomis or pineapple lilies are indigenous summer flowering bulbs with some character.

Summer rainfall bulbs

Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Kwazulu- Natal, Northern Cape, North West, Free State
If there is one thing that everyone loves about the grasslands, it is the mass of flowering bulbs that welcome the summer showers. A few truly beautiful ones will flower between November and February.
A noted example is Crocosmia paniculata that turns the landscape into a fiery orange-red in late summer. Cooler gardens might opt for Agapanthus campanulatus, a cold-tolerant (found up to 2400m above sea level) bulb that produces brilliant blue flowers. You can also include the grandmother of all Gladiolus, Gladiolus dalenii. The grass-like foliage pushes out strings of blooms in late summer when few other plants can withstand the heat. For more suggestions see below:
Summer rainfall gardens (Highveld, Lowveld):
Some red Crocosmia paniculata flowers and green leaves

Zigzag Crocosmia

Crocosmia paniculata

A close up of some blue Agapanthus campanulatus flowers in a flower garden

Bell Agapanthus

Agapanthus campanulatus

River Crinum

Crinum macowanii

slender pineapple flower

Eucomis comosa

Montane Pineapple Flower

Eucomis montana

Wild Iris

Dietes iridioides

Berg Lily

Galtonia candicans


Ammocharis spp.

cyrtanthus obliquus
Knysna lilies flower during summer with gorgeous drooping flowers.

Winter rainfall bulbs

Western Cape, West Coast, Eastern Cape
The winter rainfall area spans both coastal and semi-arid Karoo with an equally wonderful assortment to choose from. Drier gardens in the interior may opt for the gorgeous Boophone haemanthoides with its rippled leaves as striking chandelier blooms. If you prefer to stay on the muted side, try the white blooms of the Chrincherinchee (Ornithogalum thyrssoides). You will have seen these littering farms by the hundreds and they do not mind full sun.
Winter rainfall bulbs:

The SA Bulb Company

Bulb export company and retail nursery offering a wide range of irises, pelargoniums and many other interesting specimens.

Wildflower Nursery

We are suppliers of indigenous plants to landscape architects, landscape contractors, eco-estate Developers and homeowners in Gauteng. Our mission is to make you as enthusiastic about our indigenous flora as we are! We do this by making quality indigenous plants more readily available so that it can contribute to a sustainable future and through appreciation of our flora, promote biodiversity.

Lifestyle Seeds

Suppliers of indigenous South African seed Please note that seeds are sold in quantities of 100 seeds (the price on the website is for 100 seeds). Bulbs and live plants are priced per plant. Rare seeds are priced as in their product description. For all of us here at Lifestyle Seeds, Indigenous South African plants and seeds are our passion. We go to great lengths to be able to offer you a large variety of freshly picked seeds, and good quality plants and bulbs. Our seeds are checked and counted by hand to make sure you get only the best quality and to ensure that you get maximum results. We also offer rare plants and seeds, caudex plants and caudiciform plants. We always try to work with Mother Nature and make sure that we do not damage plants, insects or animals. We try to run our office and business as eco-friendly as possible and we have planted more than 400 indigenous trees on our premises during the last year. Of course we will keep on planting more! Our hot water is generated by solar panels while we use Power Saints and energy saver light bulbs to decrease our electricity usage.

day lily
Day lilies come in hundreds of cultivated varieties.

Golden oldies

On a lighter note, you may find several exotic bulbs that will always be available as summer flowering bulbs. These are widely distributed due to their variety and favour. If you fancy yourself some bombastic blooms try these on for size:
Exotic list:

Adene's Farm Flowers

We are a working flower farm in Wolseley, Western Cape, dedicated to producing high quality, beautiful and long-lasting fresh-cut flowers and foliage. The farm is nestled in the Breede River Valley region. Established in 2016, our focus is on using eco-friendly growing methods, being environmentally responsible and balancing farm with family. Adene Nieuwoudt is the passionate force behind Adene’s Farm Flowers. Her love of nature drew her to cultivating flowers. Our flowers celebrate the fleeting beauty of the season, freshly gathered from our fields and gardens. We specialize in growing unusual varieties of flowers and foliage. Our relatively mild winters and long, hot summers allow us to grow a wide range of flowers from anemones to dahlias. Due to our limited production, our flowers are primarily supplied to florists, floral agents and to the public in Cape Town and surrounding areas.

A close up of a flower

Mooiplaas Nursery

Quality, Richness and Variety is what Mooiplaas has to offer. We are mainly an online nursery which sells and ships irises and daylilies country-wide via courier. Plants are sold ‘open root’, individually wrapped and labelled. On request, Mooiplaas can supply larger quantities of Irises and Daylilies to the landscaping and nursery industries at reduced prices. For viewing and visits to the farm, we kindly ask that you make an appointment. We look forward to sharing our 28 years of collecting, nurturing and dedication with you.

A close up of a flower


Hadeco has grown from humble beginnings to become one of the largest organisations of its kind in the world and South Africa's leading bulb flower producer. This has been achieved through a relentless pursuit of quality and a constant search for new and interesting bulb varieties for both gardens and the cut flower trade. Hadeco is also the single largest supplier of cut flowers to the Johannesburg flower market. Hadeco offers over 200 bulb varieties in Southern Africa. Through ongoing research and field trials, they ensure that South African gardeners are offered a constantly growing choice of new bulb varieties that are suited to our diverse climate. Hadeco is also committed to bringing our indigenous treasures to the gardening public.

If you want to learn more about Growing dahlias or Transplanting bulbs, there is a miriad of Candide articles to keep you company.

Which of the summer bulbs is your favourite? Let us know!

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