Perennial Groundcovers For Use With Spring Bulbs - Knowledgebase Question

Greenville, PA
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Question by milandp
March 13, 2000
Please suggest one or more perennial flowers and a groundcover for use in a bed of daffodils and tulips. The bed receives a full amount of sun, and is beautiful in the spring when the bulbs are in bloom. I have tried annuals, but would like something lasting, and a groundcover for a border. I am reluctant to invest without fully understanding the compatibility of the bulbs with the new introduction.

Answer from NGA
March 13, 2000
This is a common quandary for gardeners. You may be able to arrange the plants so that larger perennials such as hemerocallis grow up to hide the ripening foliage, or you might use something like ceratostigma (hardy plumbago), which emerges quite late, to grow up and carpet the bed later in the season. Keep in mind that the bulbs and daylilies will need to be lifted and divided periodically, although not too often. The plumbago will creep and fill in and can withstand some disturbance during the bulb division procedure. You might also find that a seed sown patch of late blooming annuals such as cleome or tithonia or nicotiana is acceptable. These neighboring plants and any overplantings will, however, compete with the bulbs for nutrients.

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