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Double Planting Bulbs
I want to start this thread with two questions:

1- What bulbs grow well together? (think spring/summer/fall)
2- What else do yo...


 
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dalagan
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Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2004 11:25 pm    Post subject: Double Planting Bulbs Reply with quote

I want to start this thread with two questions:

1- What bulbs grow well together? (think spring/summer/fall)
2- What else do you plant with your bulbs?

Please share your ideas and experiences. I’ll start off with an example.

I tried an experiment this year with tulips. I planted some HUGE red parade tulips (they must have been at least 14cm in circumference) 12 inches deep and 8 inches apart, and some small peacock tulips 6 inches deep and 6 apart inches “between” the parade tulips. This way I figure their roots will be in separate soil zones. I fertilized with composted manure and leaf compost. The plan is that the peacock tulips will pop up first and put on a show, and later the Red Parade will grow up (much taller) and put on another show. The red parade will provide some shade for the Peacock tulips and the peacock tulips will shade the red parade’s roots and keep the soil cool (along with mulch). I know that everyone says that tulips don’t like shade and need full sun, but most people don’t live in Arizona where you get 300+ bright, cloudless days of sunshine each year. Almost everything (even tomatoes) appreciates a little shade here. There may be other problems I haven’t foreseen, but its already planted (2˝ ago months now). In theory this will allow me to grow twice as many bulbs in my special chilling treatment area (see my other tulip post for details). I’ll let you know how it works! Does anyone else do experiments like this? I like companion planting, and if I can grow twice the plants in half the space I’m all for it!
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kmirvin
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Joined: 01 May 2000
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2004 11:36 am    Post subject: Double Planting Bulbs Reply with quote

Aaron:

I would think when looking at bulb companion, compatability planting based on season, your only real potential conflicts would be based on bulb depths. Of course, some, like Iris and Hemerocallis could easily crowd out anything coming from below after a season or two. As you probably know, many spring planted (summer and fall blooming) bulbs are planted shallow no matter their mature bulb size. This said, with exceptions ALWAYS being present, these bulbs would only conflict with many of the diminutive fall planted (spring flowering) bulbs.

Have you ever actually had success with planting deeper planted bulbs like tulips as much as 12"? I would not expect that to work out simply due to the additional amount of top growth that would be needed just to break the soil surface. I would not worry too much about root zone conflict with the fall (spring flowering) bulbs, but that's me.
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dalagan
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Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2004 6:15 pm    Post subject: Double Planting Bulbs Reply with quote

Ya, 12 inches is a little on the deep side. I wouldn’t have done that if the bulbs hadn’t been so huge. I mean, I didn’t know they made tulip bulbs so big before I saw them. 12-11 inches would have been to the bottom of the bulb, so they would only have 10 inches of dirt to grow through. Comparatively it doesn’t take a whole lot of energy to make a few more inches of stem, and there are side benefits. I also made sure that the dirt was full of compost and peat moss so it is pretty crumbly. I wouldn’t go off the deep end if I hadn’t fixed my heavy clay soil first.
Although I don’t have much actual experience growing tulips, I did a lot of reading about them last year. Many of the books and articles I’ve read suggest planting tulips deeply (10-12 inches for large bulbs) in order to get them to perennialize (i.e. come back year after year). When tulips are planted deeply they make a large single bulb, instead of splitting into bulblets. It takes them a few more days before they flower though. I guess it is the opposite of lycoris. If you want large bulbs with lycoris, you plant them shallowly, but you can get them to make many small offsets if you plant them too deep (4-6 inches).
There is a very interesting (to me) article about growing tulips at
http://www.motherearthnews.com/menarch/archive/issues/017/017-022-01.htm
Among other things it says: “Where soils are well drained and of excellent texture, bulbs may be set 10 inches deep. Such deep planting delays flowering by a few days . . . but the size and quality of the new bulbs more than make up for the slight wait.”
At http://www.detnews.com/2003/garden/0309/29/e10-275060.htm it says
“Tulips should be planted at least six inches deep. Deeper is better, to place them safely below the reach of later digging and to keep them from splitting into many small, nonblooming bulblets sooner than they must. I plant tulips 12 inches deep.”
I ran into this same kind of advice dozens of times as I read up on tulips. Like I said before, I am just trying an experiment, and I’ll let you know how it works! The real test will be when I dig up my bulbs and/or if they bloom again next year.
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