Daffodils are beautiful naturalized.
image by Public Domain
Natural lawns are alive with wildlife and are low maintenance. However, if planted in the wrong place, such as a small, otherwise formal front garden, a natural lawn can easily look unkempt, as dying bulb foliage rots down in the shaggy grass. Naturalizing your lawn with bulbs is a great solution. You can plant informal arrangements of dozens or even hundreds of bulbs in the lawn. Over a couple of seasons the bulbs will multiply and spread into beautiful areas of flowers. Here's how to naturalize bulbs in your lawn.
Choose bulbs for your site and zone. For a medium to large open spaces, you need at least 100 bulbs to make a visual impact. Using the same or similar species will create the illusion the flowers are naturally occurring. Make sure to choose bulbs that are suited to your growing conditions. Crocus, daffodils and narcissus are excellent for naturalizing. For a more delicate area with less traffic, consider several species of tulips in varying colors.
Scatter the smaller bulbs randomly across the well-raked lawn in the sort of drifts that they would naturally grow in. For larger bulbs, make planting holes using a bulb planter, which neatly removes an appropriately sized piece of turf.
Plant each large bulb, roots down, at the recommended planting depth, making sure there is no air pocket beneath it in which water could collect. You may wish to add a shallow layer of grit or moist peat beneath the bulb to assist drainage.
Replace the removed soil. Small corms and bulbs are easily planted by partially lifting an area of turf. Make an "H"-shaped incision and fold back the turf. Lightly fork a little slow-release fertilizer into the exposed topsoil.
Scatter the small bulbs or corms randomly on the soil, root side down, and replace the turf. Gently but firmly tamp down the turf and ensure that the ground is level. Do not allow the cut edges of turf to dry out.
Water the lawn thoroughly. Care for and water the area as directed for the bulb species.