Plants /Tulips etc - Knowledgebase Question

Carlisle, PA
Question by sastermer
June 5, 2007
Follow-up to the email below:
What about a purple coneflower or black-eyed susans? Would they work?

You asked:

I have a 10x5' bed planted with about a hundred or so tulips. In April
and early May, it's gorgeous. However, the rest of the spring and
summer it's empty. What perennials can I plant that won't harm the bulbs? I
also have a bed full of hyacinth and iris. Any ideas for that area?

Your answer:

It can be difficult to mix perennials with tulips for several reasons.
The tulips bloom relatively late and must grow and mature their foliage
which takes a long time, well past when the perennials begin to grow.
The perennials tend to have deep enough roots and larger crowns so that
they interfere with the tulips. And watering the perennials to keep the
soil evenly moist may cause the tulips to be too wet during the summer.
In my experience, tulips seem to do better in their own separate
planting area. If however you want to try to mix summer flowers with the
bulbs, you might try something like marigold or cosmos that will grow in
full sun and well drained soil with little if any supplemental watering.
Or, you could arrange the plants in such as way that the tulips are in
clusters with perennials in front and to the side of the tulips rather
than on top of them. If you try this, a traditional companion is the
daylily.




Image
Answer from NGA
June 5, 2007

0

If you arrange the plants in such as way that the tulips are in clusters with perennials in front and to the side of the tulips rather than on top of them, you can use a variety of perennials. The daylilies are a good choice because the arching grasslike foliage will conceal the tulip foliage. The two you mentioned would also work but will not conceal athe tulip foliage quite as well because they have mostly low, basal foliage until they begin to bloom. Leave ample room between the tulips for your perennials -- they do spread into quite a clump in just a year or two.

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