Bulbs that Naturalize

One of my favorite areas of the Moss Mountain Farm Garden Home is Daffodil Hill. We've planted over 200,000 daffodil bulbs there and in spring the hillside is awash in shades of yellow. The nice thing about daffodils is they will naturalize or reproduce so eventually all the narcissus clumps on Daffodil Hill will grow together.

There are other bulbs that will naturalize such as crocus, dwarf iris, grape hyacinths, daylilies, blazing stars, Spanish bluebells, snowdrops, leucojums, spider lilies and rain lilies. If you want to try naturalizing bulbs in your garden here are a few tips to follow.

Daffodils
  • Be sure to choose an area where the bulbs can remain undisturbed and the foliage remain intact for at least 8 weeks after the flowers fade. Meadow grasses grow along side the bulbs on Daffodil Hill hiding the ratty foliage. Right about the time the grass needs mowing, the daffodil leaves are ready to cut back.

  • Pair your bulbs with a groundcover such as ajuga, violets, periwinkle, liriope or winter creeper. This will add seasonal color to the usually green space and the groundcover will camouflage the fading bulb foliage. The groundcover should be no more than half the height of the bulb to make sure the flowers are visible.

  • If you do mass plantings of a single color or two you get much more visual impact. Daffodil Hill is a combination of yellows, oranges and white.

  • If available, choose a range of varieties with early, mid and late bloom times. This will extend the flowering season.

  • Select an area that has well draining soil so bulbs won't rot.

  • Feed the bulbs at planting time and again each fall. Soft rock phosphate and greensand will provide several years worth of phosphorous and potassium and a dressing of compost each year provides the rest of the nutrients needed.

  • Mother Nature does not plant in straight lines so try to avoid this. Use nature as your guide and position bulbs in organic drifts.

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