Bulb crowding?

joshua2415(8A)February 18, 2010

This is my first post on this website, so bear with me if this is answered somewhere else in the forum. Can bulbs that bloom at different times be planted close to each other? Will they fight each other for the nutrients in the soil? If they can be planted together, how close can they be? Right now I have tulips blooming, but I thought about planting some other flowers (daylilies or some other periennel) in the same bed so that when the tulips are done, another flower takes over. I'm relatively new to gardening, so when my tulips started coming up, I got motivated to plant some more stuff! Thanks in advance for all the inputs I receive. I'm sure I'll have more questions for the seasoned veterans of gardening. Thanks again.

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gardengal48

Crowding situations typically arise with bulbs that naturalize freely but only after a sufficient period of time for them to multiply. So I guess the simple answer to your question is yes, most bulb species can be planted relatively close together without concern :-) Some gardeners even layer various bulbs in the same area to maximize the bloom display over a long period. Bulbs are not heavy feeders - I never fertilize mine - and will not "rob" their neighbors of soil nutrients. And they can be interplanted with other, preferrably shallow rooted, perennials, groundcovers and small shrubs without problems. Many bulb growers like to interplant their spring flowering bulbs with perennials close by so that the developing perennial foliage will hide the old foliage of the bulbs as it ripens and dies back.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 11:47AM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

I layer my bulbs all the time. I also plant my bulbs among perennials. But daylily root system is very dense. Spring bulbs won't be able to grow through such thick growth and will get crowded out eventually.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 12:50PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

These tulips were planted under the perennials in the photo below. They all came up the following years except those planted by the daylilies:


    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 12:58PM
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joshua2415(8A)

Here's another question. I bought my bulbs from Sam's Club back in late Sept. I put them in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator for six weeks (away from any fruit to be safe). I planted them in the ground in November; they started poking through the mulch in late December. One bloomed in mid January. It looks like 50% of them may not bloom. What happened? Did I plant them too early? Is this normal? Should I fertilize them with some bulb food? Thanks

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 12:11PM
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gardengal48

Where are you and what kind of bulbs? How deep did you plant them? Depending on location, it is not at all late for certain bulbs to be blooming.....many wait until March, April or even May before flowering. That January blossom may just be an abberation :-) And weather conditions may also affect bloom time as well.

Also, any fruit or certain veggies in the same refrigerator can affect flowering, not just keeping them at a distance. To be safe, it is best to refrigerate in something dedicated to bulbs or a backup frig used only for cold drinks, etc.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 12:27PM
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joshua2415(8A)

I'm in middle Georgia and the bulbs are VanZyverden Red Impressions. They came in a box of 60. I planted them 6" deep. We have had some see-saw weather with cold one week and warm the next, so maybe that triggered them to sprout quicker.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 9:36AM
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gardengal48

A 6 week chill period may not have been sufficient - most sites recommend 10-12 weeks in the South for this process before planting. And yes, the weather could also have been a factor as far as the early bloom is concerned. Also, tulip bulbs are very high on the list of sqirrel taste treats and it is advised to ensure some sort of protection for these bulbs against the rampaging of these critters if they are common in your area (and where are they not??)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 10:38AM
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