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Summer bulb into spring bulb bed

Hi all,

My first go with spring bulb bed has gone okay, not quite as dense as I had imagined but I hope they will fill out over the years.

My question is on putting in summer bulbs next, should I;

1. Plant summer bulbs in between them now

2. Wait until they fade, rake up the mulch, lift all the spring bulbs then put in the summer ones

I haven’t really thought about which ones to go in but probably begonia and or allium


  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783

  • Alliums are planted in the autumn to flower the following spring (May). If you want that bulb, wait until it is available late summer. You often find it for sale at plant fairs but I would steer away from buying it then and let the bulb supplier store it correctly throughout the summer.

    If this is a bed dedicated solely to bulbs it's best to decide if you want them all to be hardy or if you also want to add tender ones on a seasonal basis. You mention begonia tubers, which you will need to lift in the autumn if you wish to keep them for next year. They will be killed by frost and winter wet if left in the ground.

  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
    Hi Rachel, 

    Thanks for your response but my question is whether to plants summer bulbs now in between the spring bulbs or wait then replace the spring bulbs with summer bulbs.

    On your point about alliums, that is not my understanding;

    ”Summer bulbs, such as alliums, agapanthus and cannas, should be planted in spring, when the soil is beginning to warm up.”
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,407
    I think A.sphaercephalum was available for spring purchase, but most others were on sale in Autumn. It sold out fast this year, I missed the boat!
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,833
    I wouldn't bother lifting the spring bulbs. They'll spread and multiply better if left in. For summer bulbs are you talking about ones that you leave in, or tender things that you'd need to lift for the winter? Lifting them after they've finished might be tricky without disturbing the spring bulbs, unless you've left definite spaces. If you're not completely set on just bulbs in the bed, either perennials planted amongst the spring bulbs to flower later, or summer bedding planted in between the bulbs (before they've completely died down so you can see where they are) would be easier. I think of agapanthus as perennials rather than bulbs, and the deciduous ones can be left in unless you live somewhere with very cold winters. Allium are really a later-flowering spring bulb, planted in autumn. Mine (mostly Purple Sensation) grow the foliage before the flowers and often it's started dying back before the flowers come out, so I like them in amongst perennials to mask their scruffy feet a bit.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
    Now you ask, preferably leave them in.  Begonias I haven’t yet successfully regrown wether leaving or lifting so far.

    The bed is primarily architectural, the bulbs are an afterthought as I quite liked the muscari experiment.  Most of the year I just want the two cypress totem, and two dogwood around the bowl and wood chip showing.

    So I guess the answer to my question is 1. but pick bulbs that can overwinter. White or Red is my summer theme too...I shall consult my Bulb Expert book and maybe buy one of those bulb planters everyone thinks are ridiculous, thanks :smile:
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