Spring-Planted Bulbs: First Year Flowers For New Perennial Beds
by High Country Gardens
Our pre-planned perennial gardens have been very popular with High Country Garden customers for many years. Yet, as with all perennials, it often takes until the second growing season for them to reach mature size and fill out their planting bed.
For those of us who might be a little impatient for colorful flowers, spring planted bulbs can be an ideal solution. These bulbs can be inter-planted into the new pre-planned garden where they will bloom that first year they are planted.
An Easy Transition for That Second Growing Season
Many of these inexpensive spring planted bulbs are not cold hardy, so they can be used as annuals. Because they will generally freeze out over the winter, your pre-planned garden perennials will have plenty of room to grow up and bloom that following spring. It makes for an easy and low-care transition from the first season to the second one.
Spring Bulbs That Can Be Used as Annuals
- Gladiolus acidanthera (Peacock Orchid) - white fragrant flowers
- Gladiolus hybrids 'Parrot Mix', 'Rainbow Mix','Purple Flora', 'Mardi Gras Mix', 'Peter Pears' - fabulous cut flowers in designer color mixes. 'Purple Flora' has to be seen to be believed!
- Sandersonia aurantiaca (Chinese Lantern Lily) - whimsical, yellow hanging bells
- Sprekelia formosissima (Aztec Lilies) - a heat loving bulb with exotic deep red flowers
- Tigrida pavonia 'Red' (Red Mexican Shell Flower) - big, cheerful red spotted flowers
- Tigridia Mix (Mexican Shell Flower) - a showy mix of bright colors; like planting a flower party
- Triteleia Mix (Star Flowers) - nice deer and rabbit resistant native bulbs in shades of blue and white. (Modestly cold hardy so may overwinter in USDA zone 7.)
Dahlias are also a great choice to interplant into new pre-planned gardens. These tuberous bulbs are cold hardy to USDA zones 8-10. Dahlia tubers are often grown for several years by digging them from their beds in the fall. Store them in sphagnum peat moss in a cool spot over the winter to re-plant into pots or different parts of your garden for that second growing season.
The varieties listed below are compact growers and generally under 3 ft. in height so not to crowd out your young perennials, while providing ample cut flowers for your table and nectar for hummingbirds and other pollinators.
- Dahlia 'Sunshine' - compact grower with bi-color yellow and red flowers.
- Dahlia 'Fire Pot' - semi-double flowers with each flower in shades of pink, orange and yellow.
- Dahlia 'Blue Boy' - stunning lilac-blue flowers
- Dahlia 'Tahiti Sunrise' - cactus type flowers with quill-like yellow red and purple petals
- Dahlia 'Cactus Mix' - quill-like petals and a striking mix of brilliant colors
Compact Dahlia varieties with dark foliage
Text by David Salman. © All articles are copyrighted by High Country Gardens. Republishing an entire High Country Gardens blog post or article is prohibited without written permission. Please feel free to share a short excerpt with a link back to the article on social media websites, such as Facebook and Pinterest.