Ask a Question forum: tulips and groundcover

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Castle Rock, Washington
maryellenmuckel
Oct 11, 2017 6:18 PM CST
I live in the Pacific NW/western Washington
I am planting a tulip and daffodil bed but want groundcover incorporated. What type of groundcover will allow tulips and daffodils to grow up through?
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Oct 15, 2017 10:12 AM CST
Lemon thyme would be nice.
A two fer. Little tiny yellow flowers and fresh herbs, year round.
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Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Oct 18, 2017 1:23 PM CST
What type - size tulips?
Tulips are not plant and forget flowers unless you do not mind some dying , which happens any way, and lessor or different returns within a year or so.
Some will keep coming up but what you get will probably not be what it was a two years before.
The large consistent tulip gardens shown in magazines and TV are the result of continuous attention.
[Last edited by RpR - Oct 18, 2017 1:43 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Oct 18, 2017 1:36 PM CST
And yearly replanting.
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
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Leftwood
Oct 18, 2017 2:00 PM CST
Yes. The beautiful tulip swaths you may see public gardens, etc. are replanted every fall with newly bought bulbs, and dug up in late spring to discard or give away.

Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
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SunnyBorders
Oct 18, 2017 3:32 PM CST
As per RpR, Daisy and Rick, I plant regular tulips yearly. A few of the many planted do last up to three or four years in our growing conditions but most don't. The smaller species tulips do last longer if the voles/meadow mice don't get them.

Daffodils (poisonous) can last much longer but they can also rot in our climate or perhaps more likely with the amount of watering we do.

One of the most common (mainly spring-) flowering perennial ground covers you see here, in lower maintenance perennial gardens, is Cerastium tomentosum (snow-in-summer). It's said to be short-lived but I've seen it year-after-year in several gardens. It's too much of a spreader for me, but not difficult to remove. It likes sun and well-drained soils. US hardiness zones 3 to 7.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Oct 18, 2017 3:59 PM CST
I am in the Pacific NW, as you are. If you have any sort of munching wildlife (deer, squirrels) I would recommend daffodils over tulips. Both can just be left in the ground year round, no need to dig them up. Daffs will reliably increase on their own, but tulips are much less generous. I've never had any problem with them dying, but the same small group is still the same small group after 15 years or more.

Regarding companion plants, you will want to consider if you want a short plant at the foot of your bulbs to set them off, or if you want plants that will put on their growth after the bulbs have flowered to hide the fading foliage. Any of the creeping groundcovers would work for the first idea: thymes, snow in summer, phloxes, etc. If you want to hide the spent foliage, I've had good luck interplanting with daylilies or hostas. Spanish bluebells are another bulb that will multiply quickly and bloom after daffs/tulips.

You might try opening up several of our database entries for daffodils and tulips, and scroll down to see if there are any landscape photos associated. That often gives me a good visual of different ideas others have tried.
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