Plant a Beautiful Mix of Flower Bulbs in a Group

For those who love to see beautiful flowers in bloom, the blooming scene can be easily created by planting several bulbs in the same area.  Bulbs of varying sizes will produce a lovely bouquet on the ground if using varieties that bloom around the same time of the season.  Alternatively, if bulbs are chosen that bloom at varying times during the season, the later bloomers may be useful in hiding the dying foliage of earlier bloomers.  See previous post on buying bulbs.

Packaged Bulbs from Store will typically have
Instructions for Planting Depth on Back
Before digging your hole, decide on pattern (see bottomof this post for pattern ideas) as well as what bulbs will be planted in combination by size, color, and whether they are a shade or sun-loving flowers.  Arrange the bulbs on top of newspaper or the ground near where you plan to plant them.  This will give you an idea of how the collection will appear in the garden and help you determine hole depth and width.  Plan on bulbs being about 2 inches apart top allow for future bulb growth or multiplication. 

Using a shovel for digging a large hole or a hand spade for a smaller hole, dig an area the size needed to accommodate all bulbs being placed together.  The hole should be deep enough too match the depth needed for the largest bulb.  Planting depth should be on the bulb packaging.   If the bulbs were purchased loose or were given to you by another gardener and you have no marked packaging, ask for the name of the flower bulbs so you can do an internet search or see tips below for general planting suggestions.  Before placing bulbs into hole, sprinkle a little bone meal or bulb food in the bottom.  This will feed the roots of the bulb as they grow.  Then place a small amount of dirt over the food or meal to keep any bulbs from sitting directly on the chemicals.   

Rules of Thumb for planting bulbs right-side-up and at the right depth include:
Most bulbs have a flat side, which is how you can tell the bottom of the bulb where the root comes out or you may notice tiny hair-like roots dried underneath.  The top is usually more pointed and may even have a shoot starting to come out of it.  If you can not tell where the point of the bulb is, then plant it on a side because as it sprouts it may turn itself upright, that is if the ground is not too compact for it to move.Another way to remember which end goes up is that it should point to the sky (pointed end up).  The standard rule of thumb for how deep to plant a bulb is 3 times as deep as the bulb is tall if you do not have instructions for how deep to plant.  

Start placing the larger bulbs into the hole first and cover them with soil to the height needed for the next size bulb.  Then place the next size bulb and cover those with soil up to the point for the next bulb.  Continue layering in this way until all bulbs are in the hole.   Lightly dust the top of the bulb area with bulb food or bone meal and another light layer of soil. Or mix a small amount of bone meal or bulb food into some of the soil from the hole and sprinkle that on top.  After all bulbs are covered and food applied, water the area in which they were planted well.  Water the area afterwards on a regular basis, if it does not rain.  Depending on temperature and rainfall levels, this may only need to be once or twice a week, unless the bulb packaging specifies more frequent watering. 

Square Pattern: Use the height information for the resulting flowers to make sure you do not place shorter ones that bloom around the same time as taller ones because you may miss out on enjoying all the blooms.  You want taller varieties to be at the back of the square and shorter ones at the front.  If you plan multiple squares together, then you may as well plant in rows to make digging to the correct depth easier. 

Circle Pattern: If the flowers will bloom at different times and the combination is to cover dying foliage, then place the ones that bloom first in the center and later bloomers around the outside.  Or it they are blooming at the same time, place the taller variety in the center and the shorter ones around the sides.  If using mostly short flowers for this, plant it near the front border of flower bed to enjoy the effect.  If it is mostly tall flowers, then the center of a wide bed may be better.

Triangle Pattern:  This can be done 2 ways.  If the point of the triangle is to the front of the bed, then have rows of shorter flowers going back followed by rows of taller varieties, similar to the square pattern.  If the point will be to the back of the garden, then shorter flowers are the front rows, followed by taller varieties, with the tallest flower at the point.  You can make an interesting zigzag bordered row pattern by alternating the 2 different triangles and making sure the point to back and point to front triangles have differing bulb sets of different types and colors so you have many varieties of flowers.

Watch for my next post on how to plant the large bulbs individually using a straight line or zig-zag pattern.  

1 comment:

stazy said...

Neat ideas. Love to see some pictures of the designs!