Help! With bulb arrangement

gaylApril 7, 2014

I have a really bad history of planting things and having them look not so good in my yard, so I would really appreciate some help here. I was given a large packet of bulbs: 10 Echinacea Purple Magnus, 50 Liatris Blazing Star and 5 Kniphofia Alcazar.
Can these be planted all together to make an interesting display (if so, recommendations, please), or would they each be better grouped separately?
Any ideas and help would be soooo appreciated! Thank you.

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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Would you combine these in a bouquet?

I have seen pictures of Liatris intermingled with cone flowers (Echinacea) and daylilies. Looked great to me, even without daylilies. Can do groups. Maybe 5 Liatris together and 3 Echinacea nearby, etc.

The Kniphofia we do have here. It makes a big tall clump. Needs space. To me it's the attention getter. Eyes just naturally gravitate to it. I like mine with the ferny-foliage of a gameolepis bush.

Do a google search on each name. Now you get a page of lots of photos (in Win7 I do) and some may have other plants for you to see what you like.

I also pot up roots and when they're in bloom I choose their location. Bought a bunch of plastic 3 gal. pots for the big growers and save 1 gal. for others. I also do better placement when I view them at dusk.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:04PM
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Thank you! I am still a bit confused on how to arrange the bulbs, but I'll start looking at pics and see what I come up withâ¦I may be back!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 1:44PM
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Two tips I learned about planting flowers or bulbs in general.

The first is to plant tall, medium, and short plants from back to front. This would include a plant(s) that you want to be the centerpiece.

The second is that, depending on the effect you want, you can even mix bulbs in the same general location so that some plants grow and flourish and die back, others are coming up in their place.

Even for the same bulb, you could plant some deeper than others, so that you get a bloom cycle of that particular plant since some will come up before others (just make sure it's not deeper than recommended for that bulb).

And finally, try to place similar colors together. They have a bigger visual effect that way.

Also, plant in groups of odd numbers.

Well as you can see, we can't give just a tip or two. There are lots of things to learn about planting and it's fun to share info!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 6:27PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

gharborwa - just a point on nomenclature. None of the plants you have would be properly be described as bulbs. They are perennial roots. The difference is important because you need to get them planted asap. They will not keep in a dry state as bulbs will. It would be better to plant them now,either in the ground or in pots, and move them later if need be rather than keep them in their packaging while you decide where to put them. Also check when each flowers in your area. They may not be in flower at the same time, in which case how they combine is not much of an issue.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 3:23AM
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thanks for all your help! Want to come plant them for me tomorrow?!!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 3:49AM
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Good choices...I know the first two are North American natives I've planted.

Echinacia is NOT a bulb. It won't survive long without being planted, and doesn't have the stored food that bulbs have. I purchased some of those "bulbs" at a Big Box store and none survived. Probably need regular watering to take. If it survives, you'll have a small plant that will occupy that space all year and bloom a long time. Potted Echinacia are easier to plant.

Liatris may not technically be a bulb as botanists define it...but it might as well be for home gardening purposes. It blooms late in the you'll never see it with most of the other plants. (Except the Echinacia.) Pay attention to bloom times.

This post was edited by edlincoln on Wed, Apr 9, 14 at 22:11

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 7:55AM
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Lots of good information; I really do appreciate it all.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 3:05PM
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These plants (and yes, they are NOT bulbs) also have a bit different growing conditions. The Echinacea want very well drained soil (especially here in the PNW), the kniphofia will grow anywhere and the liatris likes moist soils.........I'm not sure I'd plant all together in the same area. Kniphofia will bloom first (end of May?), followed by the Echinacea and the Liatris almost simultaneously but quite a bit later in the season (July).

Design-wise, things look better planted in drifts - multiples of the same plant together - rather than intermixing the various different plants. It tends to provide a much bigger impact than the random scattering and less of a hodge-podgy, polka dot effect. And that way you can more easily address some of the differences in growing requirements. I would also plant the liatris at some distance away from the kniphofia - the grass-like foliage of both is too similar and is best broken up by something with a different texture.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 5:17PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Totally agree with everything gardengal48 says. Another tip, as well as planting in groups of one type, is to repeat those groupings at intervals. It's another way of reducing the spotty, blobby effect and holding the picture together.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 5:13AM
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