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Under planting: a quick and easy way to create long lasting colour

For gardeners who have very limited space, and young gardeners in particular who often have a limited amount of both space and time, underplanting is a fantastic way to make the very best use of a relatively small area, ensuring that you get the most flowers and the most longlasting display from a very limited amount of space.

Underplanting consists of putting three different varieties of bulb that flower at different times into the same pot. For example, you could put tulips at the bottom of the pot, then daffodils above the tulip bulbs, and then finally crocuses at the top.

If this still sounds a bit daunting, here is a step by step guide on how to do it:

  1. Arm yourself with a 25cm pot and around 7.5 litres of bulb fibre.
  2. Fill the pot to around a third full, and then layer tulip bulbs on top.
  3. Add more bulb fibre, and then the daffodil bulbs.
  4. Add a generous layer of bulb fibre and then crocus bulbs.
  5. Top off with bulb fibre, water generously and position in a cool, dark, well ventilated position to encourage root development once the shoots appear in early spring into their final position.  

What then happens is that the crocuses flower first, and as they finish flowering the daffodils flower, and finally as they finish flowering the tulips flower. This then means that you get a flower display all in one pot of three different flowers that starts at the end of February, and goes all the way through March, April and into May. This gives you a wonderful display of colour taking you from the end of winter into the beginning of summer, and all within a small space. This could be done on a patio, on decking, or even in a small garden.

There are lots of different varieties that are suitable for containers and patios – polyanthus, violas, pansies for example, but you can link lots of different products together. At the moment themed pots are very much in fashion – here are some ideas as to bulbs you could use for underplanting to create different coloured pots:

Shades of white: Tulip White Dream, Narcissi Thalia, Crocus White

Shades of purple: Allium Christophii, Tulip Purple Prince, Crocus Flower Record

Shades of Yellow: Tulip Goldern Apeldoorn, Hyacinth City of Haarlem, Crocus Yellow Mammoth

Shades of Red: Allium Red Mihican, Hyacinth Jan Bos, Tulip Red Riding Hood

Shades of Black and Blue: Tulip Queen of Night, Hyacinth Blue Jacket, Crocus Blue

If you need more help with planting your bulbs or want some more advice on underplanting, then please contact us. Boston Bulbs Wholesale is a privately-owned business with over 35 years’ experience of importing only the finest quality horticultural products throughout Europe and from farmers and growers all over the UK. Whether you’re a landscaper, nursery, local authority, wholesaler, retailer, private business or individual gardener, just give us a call on 01775 769 333 or visit for help with flower bulbs, grass seed and more. 

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