Return to the Bulbs Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Spring bulbs in shade?

Posted by julianna_il z6 IL (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 26, 13 at 15:34

I've always wondered about this: could I plant a bunch of spring bulbs (daffodils, crocus, tulip, etc.) in an area that would normally be full shade, once the trees fully leaf out?

It seems like over winter and spring, they would get full sun on the foliage, bloom, then go dormant as the tree canopy takes over.

Is this possible or do they need that sun throughout summer to set them up for spring blooming?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Spring bulbs in shade?

Hi there,
it depends. In order to thrive in the long run, spring bulbs need full sun while flowering and some time after that, in order to store enough energy.

so, early flowering bulbs and late leafing out trees should do fine.
Another aspect is soil moisture. Most of the tulips and ornamental leek come from semi-desert like places or steppes.
That means, moisture after winter when snow is melting, and a hot dry summer, with dry soil.

and mind root competition. Is the area just shaded by a tree or do you want to plant within a dripline of a canopy?

Stuff like Scilla siberica do well around trees as they are a woodland species,
I would be careful with tulip hybrids and Crocuses.

Well then, have a go at it anyway,

bye, Lin

RE: Spring bulbs in shade?

Thanks for the advice, Lin.

I googled Scilla siberica and about lost my breath. STUNNING. I have to get me some of that!

I've got a long narrow bed against the house in the back yard (I'm moving next week to this house). The house isn't straight, so this bed runs from southwest to southeast.

I wasn't planning on the bulbs there because I don't think it gets ANY sun (still have to study sunlight once I'm moved in). There's an overhang. Right now it's just WHITE ROCK. LOL.

Previous owners planted lots of white landscaping rock, but nothing else.

So I'm thinking in that space, definitely some woodland plants: Lily of the Valley (my favorite), now this Scilla siberica, some sweet william and a few other things that grow in the woods natively. Sure miss living in the woods where I could just go dig these things up!

Also I guess some hostas and astilbe, and see how those do.

I'm not really sure what else to do with it.

RE: Spring bulbs in shade?

If you're going to get squill, Brent and Becky's had an extra-large variety in this year's catalogue that I thought looked like an improvement on the standard tiny ones I have:
They also have a white variety:

One bulb that I know will not work in the situation you describe is dutch iris; I have some that are shaded by my grapevine once it leafs out and they have never bloomed there. :/

RE: Spring bulbs in shade?

Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis), squill, chionodoxa, snowdrops (Galanthus), puschkinia, Anemone nemorosa (you might have to buy this one as potted starts), hepatica (also potted), Corydalis solida and erythroniums will all do well in the conditions you describe.

RE: Spring bulbs in shade?

Sun and Ispahan, thank you! I really love these.

Since they mostly seem to bloom early spring, would you wait until fall to plant the bulbs?

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Bulbs Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here