Although tulips look fabulous when planted in large drifts, they look even better when combined with other flowering bulbs, annuals or perennials. Here are some lovely combination ideas that are easy to replicate in your own garden.
Tulips with other flowering bulbs
- Extend the bloom season of your favorite tulips
Combine them with flower bulbs that will bloom before, during, and after them. Remember, spring has three seasons, not just one. Call them early spring, mid spring and late spring. Now choose spring bulbs that bloom in each and, with minimal effort, you can have month after month of spring color.
Plant low-growing bulbs, such as grape hyacinths, in front of taller bulbs such as daffodils, or mingle the bulbs together for a more natural effect.
- Play with flower colors.
The fun part of bulb gardening is dreaming up fabulous bloom schemes. The color palette is endless. Just choose what you like best. How about rich purple tulips (Tulip ‘Purple Prince’) intermixed with purple-flamed orange tulips (Tulip ‘Prinses Irene’) or fragrant deep blue hyacinths (Hyacinth ‘Blue Jacket’) with jaunty yellow daffodils (Daffodil ‘Dutch Master’).
For an early-blooming ‘go girl’ color combo, try pairing low-growing Pink Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa luciliae Pink Giant) as an underplanting for peony-shaped, fragrant and extremely long-lived pink tulips (Tulip ‘Angelique’).
How about using various types of flower bulbs in the same colors to provide a subtle harmonious effect? An example: combine tall and shorter spring-flowering bulbs such as bright pink tulips and pastel pink hyacinths.
- Create a floral carpet.
Plant large quantities – as many as two or three hundred of the same low-flowering kind of flower bulb – next to one another. For instance, use Crocuses or Anemone blanda (Grecian Windflowers). The floral carpet effect can also be achieved by using taller flower bulbs such as tulips and daffodils. Either way, the color impact is overwhelming!
Here are some bulb combination ideas to get you started:
Tulips with annual and perennial flowers
Plant them with the tulip bulbs in the fall if you live in a warm winter area. Plant them in the spring, as soon as you see the first tulip shoots emerge from the soil, if you live in a cold winter area. If the annual flowers are already blooming, they'll be ready for the opening tulip flowers. Remember to keep low-growing annuals in front of taller tulip varieties.
Some perennial plants are particularly suited for combinations with tulips as they attain their height fairly quickly in the spring and produce substantial foliage that hides the senescing tulip foliage from view. Here is a list of successful companion plants:
Aurinia saxitilis (Basket-Of-Gold)
Brunnera macrophylla (Siberian Bugloss)
Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Heart)
Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)
Phlox subulata (Creeping Phlox)
Or even Hemerocallis (Daylilies), which do not flower at the same time as the tulips, but will hide their dying and yellowing foliage when they are finished blooming.
|Tulips 'Angelique', 'China Pink', 'Menton', Daffodil 'Geranium, Dicentra spectabilis|
For home gardeners looking to create fabulous tulip combinations, fall is a perfect time to start. Fall is the season for planting hardy, spring-flowering bulbs and it is a great season for planting perennials as well. With a bit of daydreaming and a weekend of digging in the dirt, a gardener of any skill level can plan now for a garden where “things happen happily” from spring on into winter, with dashes of color in just the right places.