Help with mixed fall bulb planting

jerem(5b)October 29, 2010

I bought a bunch of random fall bulbs and im wondering if its possible to just mix them all up in a bag and place them randomly in a selected site to get a random mixed look. Im not looking for anything fancy just some nice wild looking area that doesnt look planned. Problem is all are different and i think need to be placed at different depths for example i have some:

Camassia Blue Melody(3)

Fritillaia Checkered Lilies(25)

Chionodoxa Violet Beauty(15)

Crocus Giant Mix (20)

Allium Roseum(20)

Allium Rainbow Mix(30)

Daffodil Double Duo(20)

Fritillaria Multiflorm(5)

Hyacinthus Mixed(20)

Hyacinthis Jan Bos(3)

Tulip Monsella(5)



Daffodil Random Bag (60)

Tulip Random Mix (60)

Is it possible to mix all of these randomly or would it look horrible? And how would i do so?


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luvahydrangea(Albany, NY 5)

I know that the Allium need to be planted at a lower depth, but not sure about Chionodoxa or Fritillaia as I've never grown those. I planted my hyacinths, tulips, crocus and daffodils more or less at the same depth. I think the general rule is to plant bulbs twice the depth as they are tall. I don't like to plant my crocuses too close to the surface though, because the squirrels love them.

You definitely could plant them all in the same area, but keep in mind all of those have different bloom times.

I'm including a link with a planting chart.

Here is a link that might be useful: Planting Chart

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 7:38AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Im not looking for anything fancy just some nice wild looking area that doesnt look planned.
Is this by any chance going to be an area off where the bulbs will be allowed to naturalized, and not mowed until maybe about 6 weeks after the last blooms fade? To each his own, but I kind of doubt if you will be pleased with the very mixed/random planting.

Are you maybe thinking of the looks an area has when planted with a wild flower mix of seeds? I don't think bulbs, planted randomly like that would compare to mixed wildflowers...I could be wrong though.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 8:58AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I guess the first design lesson I ever learned was, a dozen blooms of a kind all planted together are far more beautiful than just one. So, if I were you, I would keep the bulbs separated by type. This does not mean you cannot plant them in the same area. Just plant all of a kind together in a clump, ribbon, or cluster (not straight soldier like rows), then start the next clump or cluster right next to the first. Chemocurl is right, they will not all bloom at once, which is another good reason to keep likes together. You'll have better luck if you'll research all your bulbs on the internet to be sure that your planting area will give each kind planted there the amount of sun and rain that the plant requires.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 6:52PM
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Planting bulbs too deep can mean that you don't get blossoms so you may want to rethink your idea. Also bulbs grow bulblets so your going to get clusters of plants over time anyway so I would agree with everyone else and start out that way so it is a part of your plan from the beginning.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 9:31AM
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Thanks for the suggestions, would it be ok to mix different variety's of the same flower together like a bunch of different tuplips and plant them together mixed and the same for the daffs and such? Because i already mixed all the daffs and tulip variety together in a big paper bag so i have all the tulips in one bag and all daffs mixed in a bag. I hope its ok to do that atleast.

Thanks :).

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 2:24AM
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Since the planting depth is the same I'd say it's ok from the plants perspective.
Landscapers advise against it from a decorative point of view. But as it fills in over a couple of years I think it will look fine. But then I have a tendency to be a little out there.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 10:00AM
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cheleinri(z6 RI)

I've always tended to cluster varieties, or to plant a few color-coordinated kinds together, but I came upon this article and I really like the mixed and dotted-through the garden look too. Granted, these are carefully thought out combinations, but generally speaking, it's an interesting idea. If you think you'd like yours all mixed together give it a try. (At least those that like the same depth..the tulips and daffs anyway.) Check out this article.

Here is a link that might be useful: An Interview With Jacqueline van der Kloet

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 5:31PM
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cheleinri(z6 RI)

I just wanted to add, that you can dig one hole, or trench, plant your bigger bulbs at the correct depth, add an appropriate amount of soil and then add your smaller bulbs on top before filling the hole. So long as you don't plant too densely, it all works out.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 6:59PM
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That's so true. And if you layer bulbs that bloom at different times it can keep your bed looking full and lush longer.

That article was amazing. I love the fresh look of the mixed beds. I'm mixing my beds but I did it in clumps and much more formally. (OCD strikes again) but I've got to say that designer randomness is still completely pulled together and looks great.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 8:37AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I am very fond of naturalised bulbs but strange as it may seem getting a 'natural' look can be quite hard work. It works best with the simpler flowers like species daffs, tulips and crocuses. The big fat artificial hyacinths might look a bit odd but in following years will probably begin to look more airy and natural.

As others have said these will all require slightly different depths and conditions. Fritillaria meleagris, for example, (your 'checkered lilies') are a British wild flower which grows in damp meadows. I think it could be done but the bulbs would need to be carefully placed and the grass left uncut for a meadow look until well after the last flower was over. If you plant in a bed you will still have to live with dying foliage over a long period of time until the last ones are flowered unless you are prepared for constant maintenance to remove each variety's spent leaves as they goes over.

The link might be useful

Here is a link that might be useful: naturalising bulbs

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 5:53AM
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