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Combine tulips with perennials blog post

Can I Plant Tulips and Perennials Together?

planting ideas starting a garden

I was recently asked if it’s possible to plant tulips with perennials.

Actually, it's a great idea to combine tulips with perennials! You can mix these two to create charming late spring and early summer borders.

You can plant tulip bulbs between your perennials, and they grow happily together if you consider the following things:

  • The watering needs
  • The timing of the growth
  • The need for division 


1. Choose Perennials that Enjoy the Sun and Don't Need Intensive Maintenance

The majority of the tulips will thrive in a flowerbed that gets a lot of sunshine and is pretty dry during the summer months. 

The bulbs must get their dormant period after flowering to get your tulips growing and blooming the next year and the years to come. That is why they are a great match with many perennials, but not so much with annuals requiring intensive feeding and watering.

You can think about perennials like catmint (Nepeta) and hardy salvia (Salvia), for example. 



2. Late Spring and Early Summer Blooming Perennials Combine Nicely with Tulips

Tulips are beautiful companions for perennials that are late spring or early summer bloomers. You can create many gorgeous combinations out of them.

In addition to the visual effect, there is a bonus that late spring and early summer blooming perennials' new growth is fast enough to cover the ground and camouflage those dying bulb tops after their flowering. Just remember to choose perennials that are high enough, and their foliage is lush enough.

>> It's crucial to let the leaves dry naturally so that the bulb can restore all the energy from the leaves for the following year.


3. Consider Low-maintenance Perennials with No Need for Division 

I would also suggest choosing plants to grow happily at the same place for years without a need for division. I mean species like peonies (Paeonia), daylilies (Hemerocallis), and ornamental grasses. They all are a good match for tulips.

Also, ground covering perennials is an easy and low-maintenance option. If you choose plants like bigroot geraniums (Geranium macrorrhizum), it covers the ground density and hides dying tulip leaves nicely under a dense foliage cover.



Tulips with perennials - Prepare for planting

How to proceed in creating your flowerbed for planting tulips and perennials depends on your situation.

For the existing perennial bed, plant the tulip bulbs between the perennials in the autumn.

If you already have a density planted area of tulips with no perennials, I would suggest waiting until all the tulips have flowered and the tops have turned brown. Then lift the tulip bulbs, prepare the flowerbed, plant perennials and replant the bulbs. It's a little bit more work, but in that way, you will not cut your tulip bulbs into pieces when preparing the flower bed for perennials and planting them.

Many tulip cultivars tend to disappear after a year or two, so prepare to add more bulbs yearly. However, some of them will grow and cheer you up every spring for years to come. 





You might also be interested in the following blog posts:

3 Rules of Thumb When Planning with Spring Bulbs

Wanna Choose Best Snowdrop for Romantic Garden? Here's the One





PS. Enjoy the exciting combinations that you can create with tulips and perennials. Let them reflect your style and color preferences. Check out my FREE Garden Personality Style quiz and get your Style Guide to learn more about how to let your garden reflect your personality. You can take the quiz >> HERE! <<




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