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Tulip Bed

Hey guys i'm thinking of putting tulips into a bed 10 ft x 4ft, How many bulbs would i need to fill the bed. I've never planted or grown tulips before. Also anyone got any suggestions on what variety of tulip to have.


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  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 4,037
    I have a rose bed, about 20+ foot by 4ft with 12 roses in it. Every spring I normally plant about 150 tulips in it plus about a dozen alliums. all in clumps. It does give a good display but certainly does not look like a bed of tulips. I think you may need to underplant them with forgetmenots or wallflowers just to fill the gaps. Check the varieties you buy, not only for suitable colour co-ordinations, but height and flowering time. Tulips will flower from beg April into May depending on variety. I normally get mine from Peter Nyssen but there are other bulb suppliers available. I reckon you will need about 150 bulbs or thereabouts plus the underplanting if you want a whole bed of tulips on display. Especially if you want a succession of flowers. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,234
    I have a mixed tulip and daffodil bed with alliums at the back. After these are on the way out the agapanthus start and aconite take over, but it still has an empty patch which I fill with tubs of bedding for the summer.
    What are you planning  to do with the bed for the other 10 months @Voyagerxp ?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,223
    Variety is down to what your personal taste is, so it's hard for anyone to suggest them:)
    There are hundreds to choose from, and they don't all flower at the same time either. If you're just going to have them for cutting, you could really have anything.
    If you want them colour coordinated purely as a display, it's worth looking at the specialist sites like P.Nyssen, as mentioned, but they sell out quickly, so you may have difficulty ordering now.
    They will also diminish over time, unless you can exactly replicate their ideal growing conditions, which is hard in the UK.
    The species tulips are different - they naturalise and come back each year, but are generally smaller, and they are mainly brighter colours.
    I think @hogweed's estimate is about right for the size of border.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,597
    I have a bed of similar size and that was planted a few years ago with 150 tulips. 
    As others have said,  it's difficult to advise which ones, as it's down to the colours that you prefer.
    Peter Nyssen and Sarah Raven offer collections of different colours and flowering times.
    As well as the tulips, we planted wallflowers so that there was something to look at over winter,  rather than just bare soil. 
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    I never plant any but species tulips, they are much better value as they come back year after year.  Some suppliers call them perennial tulips.  The flowers are a bit smaller and less showy, but I think they look just as good, and there are plenty of colours and varieties to choose from.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,223
    I love them @josusa47. I'm surprised more people don't grow them, but I expect they either don't know about them, or perhaps don't like the brighter colours and smaller flowers. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • I may grow some dwarf cosmos behind the tulips
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 4,037
    Cosmos will not flower until much later. June, July onwards. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Peter Nyssen and Sarah Raven are quite expensive if you need lots of bulbs to get your bed going. If you like purple you can get 125 bulbs for only £31 quid here; 
    https://www.lindisflowerbulbs.co.uk/autumn-planting/tulip-bulbs/tulip-bulbs-collections
    One or even two packs will really get you started! You can then spend more on a few exotic varieties which can dot into the bed or set in clumps. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,223
    Cheaper bulbs are often smaller. It's why they're cheaper.  :)
    I certainly wouldn't use Sarah Raven. It's not a grower - just a retailer, so everything's expensive. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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