These flashy, colorful jewels can become an essential feature of the mid- to late-summer border, as well as inject life into tired fall gardens.
When to Plant: Late spring
At Their Best: Midsummer to fall
Time to Complete: 30 minutes for planting
Once the danger of frost has passed, dig a hole 12 inches deep and add a layer of organic matter in the bottom. Place the tuber in the hole with the buds pointing up, as well as a stake for support, and carefully refill with soil.
Provide slug protection as young growth appears. When stems are 12 inches high, pinch out the top bud to encourage bushiness and lots of flowers.
As soon as the first light frost has blackened the leaves, cut off the foliage and dig up the tubers. Place them somewhere airy and frost free, so the stems can dry out fully.
When dry, brush the soil off the tubers, label them clearly and plant them in wooden boxes or large pots of dry potting mix. Keep them in a cool, dry, frost-free place until you can plant them out again the following spring.