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I am trying to plan out our new garden, and I would like to have some bulbs and perennials, perhaps both in the same area of the garden. I want to make sure that there are no concerns with planting these types of flowers close to each other, and how close they can be to each other if planted together. I am specifically interested in having daffodils and tulips in the same plot as lavender, lingonberries, bearded iris, red hot torch lilies, and possibly azaleas or rhododendron; I would be interested if there is a general way to determine what plants can be planted together.

I am in US zone 8b.

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First, there's an issue with some of the plants you want to put together in the bed, regardless of any bulbs. Lingonberry requires acidic, moist soil, as do rhododendron varieties, including azalea; lavender, on the other hand, prefers free draining neutral to alkaline soil conditions and full sun, so the lavender won't make a good bed fellow for the acid lovers.

In regard to tulips and daffodils, the shrubs you mention are all evergreen, and depending on the varieties you choose, the mature or ultimate spread or width of each one will vary - that means you must plant the bulbs a sufficient distance away from the shrubs, taking into account the ultimate spread of each shrub, so that the bulbs have space to grow and flower, and space for their foliage to be left in place for six weeks after flowering is over. Bearded Iris rhizomes need to be in a very sunny spot, not shaded by other plants particularly during summer, because the rhizome needs to be baked by the sun to get good flowering ongoing.

Kniphofia (torch lilies) take up a fair amount of space, with their rather sprawly foliage, but there are dwarf and large varieties, so be sure to check the spread of whichever one you choose before planting your bulbs.

If you were worried about any allelopathic effects between the plants you mention, that won't be a problem.

  • Yup, that was my first thought...diverse selection, not very harmonious together but still... – stormy Jul 5 '17 at 3:00
  • Thanks for these suggestions! I was still in the planning stages so this gives me some ideas of what will work. – SethMMorton Jul 5 '17 at 4:52

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