The Q&A Archives: Annual Or Perenial Plants Grown Over Bulbs

Question: I am a first time gardener and I would like to plant some bulbs in my front yard. I would like to know if there are any plants(annuals or perennials) that I can plant in the same spot after the flower is spent? or should I just plant some ground covers like Pink Sundrops? I was thinking of growing sunflowers over it. Is that a good idea? Your help is truly appreciated!!!

Answer: You have asked an interesting question and one that has challenged gardeners forever.

To some extent the answer depends on which bulbs you plant. It is easy to plant a few little crocus bulbs in between perennials (or annuals), or a daffodil or two. Those two types of bulbs can stay in place for several years and the perennials or annuals will grow to cover the fading foliage of the bulbs. The foliage has to be left in place to nourish the bulbs, and can become unsightly.

A mass planting of tulips for example is another story. These bulbs look best planted close together and leave little room for other plants. Annuals such as marigolds could be planted between them to cover the fading foliage. Tulip bulbs tend to peter out after a year or two so they must be dug up and replaced. This makes it difficult to grow perennials around them -- it is a big upheaval and there is not enough room for the other plants.

You might find it preferable to grow bulbs toward the back of the bed and plant perennials in front of them and annuals between them. A classic combination is daffodils and daylilies. With a little experimentation you will see what works best for you and looks good -- we all use bulbs differently, some prefer them in clumps and some in tidy rows.

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