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How to Plant Perennials With Bulbs

Perennials are a favorite among many gardeners because they provide color year after year. Once you plant the bulbs, you can expect them to sprout and bloom with minimal fuss. Daffodils and tulips are two of the most popular perennial bulbs.

Plant spring blooming perennials in the fall and summer blooming perennials in the spring. Those that bloom in the fall should be put in the ground before the first frost, preferably when the ground temperature is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer-blooming bulbs should be planted after the last frost has occurred.

Dig holes that are 5 to 8 inches deep. Depth is needed to give the bulbs protection from the winter weather.

Place the bulb in the hole with the base facing down. The base is the rounded end of the bulb.

Cover the bulb with the removed soil and tamp it down to remove air pockets. Add 2 to 3 inches of a pine mulch on top of each bulb.

Plant different types of bulbs together in one planting site if preferred. Put the larger bulbs 8 inches in the ground and the smaller bulbs 5 inches deep.

Water the bulbs until the soil is moist. Bulbs do best if there is some moisture, as long as the ground is not overly saturated.

Fertilize perennial bulbs once a month between the time a shoot emerges and the plants blooms into full flowers. Apply a fertilizer with a nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ratio of 8-8-8. Use 2 to 3 pounds per 100 square feet of planting space. There are also slow release foods on the market that only require one application.

Interplant Perennials & Bulbs

Use complementary colors in choosing bulbs and perennials. wulfenii “Purple and Gold”). For instance, in a bed of warm, yellow daffodils (Narcissus), add a cool, blue Pacific Coast iris (Iris douglasiana). Pair low-growing bulbs, such as 8-inch grape hyacinth (Muscari), with low-growing perennials, such as the trailing alyssum (Alyssum wulfenianum). Good choices include forget-me-nots (Myosotis scorpioides) or carpet bugle (Ajuga). In the spring, you can lift the pot and transplant the bulbs to containers just before they bloom. Bleeding heart grows from 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide.


Wear gloves as protection when you plant perennials with bulbs.

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