Beautiful Bulb Combinations

Dusky Dynamo
Start your spring landscape with a big show by creating dramatic plant combinations. We'll show you what to plant.

Rainbow of Tulips

Create a sweeping swath of color with a mix of tulip varieties interplanted with easy-growing perennials, such as lamb's-ears, geranium, and Siberian bugloss, that form a textured tapestry underneath the tulips. The colorful mix of tulips shown here includes 'Don Quichotte', 'Yokohama', 'Van Eyck', 'Ad Rem', 'Menton', 'Spring Green', 'Orange Emperor', 'Jewel of Spring', and 'Apeldoorn'.

Test Garden Tip: Rather than lining bulbs in regimented rows, create a natural appearance by planting them in clusters or groupings.

Magical Maroons

'Palace Purple' coralbells make the perfect companion for the deep burgundy tones of 'Uncle Tom' tulip. Other double late tulips that blend well in the mix include red-and-gold 'Double Focus' and pink-and-white 'Wirosa'.

Test Garden Tip: 'Husker Red' penstemon could be substituted for the 'Palace Purple' coralbells in a sunny site.

Days of Whites and Roses

Pure white 'Thalia' daffodil, sometimes called the orchid narcissus, bears fragrant white blooms and pairs perfectly with 'Christmas Marvel', a single early rose-color tulip. 'Samobor' perennial geranium foliage provides a pleasing backdrop for the bright blooms.

Test Garden Tip: 'Springtime' or 'Margaret Wilson' perennial geranium would also be a delightful addition to the mix.

Shade Brightener

Brighten a shady spot with white-flowering bulbs. Fragrant paperwhite narcissus paired with 'Spring Green' tulip, for example, is a sure way to bring life to a corner shaded by deciduous trees. A groundcover carpet of vinca adds touches of purple, and boxwood shrubs provide structure.

Test Garden Tip: Make your shade stand out even more with a variegated vinca variety, such as 'Illumination' or 'Sterling Silver'.

Heart's Desire

Use white old-fashioned bleeding heart to back a border brimming with white, pink, and red blooms to create instant charm. Airy white forget-me-not unifies the collection of tulips and daffodils. Here pink-blushed 'Flaming Purissima', white 'Purissima', creamy 'Ivory Floradale', and red 'Kingsblood' tulips mingle with white 'Silver Chimes' daffodils.

Test Garden Tip: Pink old-fashioned bleeding heart or fernleaf bleeding hearts, such as 'Luxuriant' or 'King of Hearts', would blend well in this mix, too.

Cloaked in Color

The combination of chartreuse cushion spurge and blue-flowered forget-me-nots is stunning in its own right. But with the addition of colorful tulips the border sings. The tulip varieties in this planting are 'Yellow Purissima', burgundy 'Ronaldo', red-and-yellow 'La Courtine', and gold-and-white 'Sweetheart'.

Test Garden Tip: For another chartreuse-and-blue perennial flower pairing, try lady's mantle with Siberian bugloss.

Isle of Capri

Brilliant red 'Capri' tulip swims in a sea of pastel tulips including 'White Dream', 'Yellow Purissima', gold-and-white 'Sweetheart', creamy 'Ivory Floradale', 'Yellow Flight', white 'Maureen', and white 'Pays Bas'. Purple-and-white violas anchor the bed.

Test Garden Tip: Tulips and violas will fade by the time summer heat hits, so plant heat-loving annuals in the spot.

Basket Case

Enjoy a charming container garden with starry pink glory-of-the-snow weaving through pansies. Or go for a blue-on-blue look with indigo pansies and blue glory-of-the-snow.

Test Garden Tip: Line the basket with plastic that has a few holes cut in before planting to prevent soil from falling through the weave.

Artful Mix

Deep orange 'Hermitage' tulip teams with a trio of white varieties (double 'Verona', 'White Triumph', and lily-flowering 'Tres Chic') to put on a stunning show. Blue 'Valerie Finnis' grape hyacinth adds a splash of color, while garland spirea lends structure and color to the mix.

Test Garden Tip: Planting a blend of tulips in the same color range, but of differing classes extends the bloom season because the various types bloom at different times.

Creamy Dream

'Ivory Bells' fritillaria looms over a combination of 'White Lady' daffodils and a mix of white tulips, including 'Spring Green', 'Pays Bas', 'Maureen', 'Sapporo', and 'White Parrot'. Low-growing 'White Splendor' anemone continues the white theme.

Test Garden Tip: Use light colors -- white, yellow, cream, and pastel pink -- to brighten shady areas.

Carpet of Phlox

A carpet of 'Emerald Cushion Blue' creeping phlox is ready to burst into bloom and give a beautiful mix of tulips (including white-edged 'Ballade', pink-edged 'Shirley', and pink 'Don Quichotte') a wonderful backdrop.

Test Garden Tip: Other low-growing groundcovers that make an impressive carpet under bulbs include snow-in-summer, thyme, creeping sedum, dianthus, ajuga, and lamium.

Purple Pleaser

Rosy-purple 'Barcelona' tulip, cream-color 'Spring Green' tulip, and 'Pipit' jonquil dance above purple-blue grape hyacinths and the foliage of 'Purple Sprite' astilbes in this springtime border. As the bulbs fade, the astilbes will take center stage.

Test Garden Tip: Late-emerging hostas also make great spring bulb companions. As the hosta leaves expand, they cover the fading foliage of the bulbs.

River of Pink and Purple

A river of lily-flowered 'Ballade' and 'Negrita' Triumph tulips flows between a brick wall and boulder in this planting. Bergenia blooms in the foreground echo the rosy hues.

Test Garden Tip: Stick with a limited color scheme for hardscape materials to avoid detracting from the flowers. The grays of the boulder and retaining wall complement one another and the blooms.

Naturalized Bulb Meadow

A low-maintenance planting of wildflowers and spring-flowering bulbs makes an attractive lawn alternative. Here, sky blue 'Valerie Finnis' grape hyacinth blends beautifully with 'Minnow', 'Hawera', and 'Sailboat' daffodils. Golden dandelion blooms are part of the mix, too.

Test Garden Tip: Crocus and daffodils are some of the best bulbs for naturalizing in lawns. Wait to mow until after the bulb foliage has died down.

Window Box Welcome

Cheery orange and gold 'Jetfire' daffodils provide a burst of color in this window box garden. Underplantings of pansies in the same brilliant shades counterbalance the height of the bulbs.

Test Garden Tip: Change out your window box plantings with the seasons to keep them in top shape.

Terrific in Terra-Cotta

Terra-cotta pots partner perfectly with 'Orange Princess' and 'Yokohama' tulips and 'Accent' narcissus with its peach-color cup. Terra-cotta drains well -- a must for most bulbs.

Test Garden Tip: Place the pots at different heights to create a display with impact.

Spring Woodland Seating

Pools of golden 'King Alfred' daffodils, 'Red Apeldoorn' tulips, grape hyacinths, and white hyacinths ramble among boulders in this woodland garden. A pair of Adirondack chairs provides the perfect spot to enjoy the colorful view.

Test Garden Tip: Plant large bulbs, such as tulip, daffodil, and hyacinth in groupings of five to 15 bulbs of each type. Small bulbs, such as grape hyacinth, are most effective in groupings of 15 to 25.

In the Pink

Tulips, pansies, and toadflax in shades of pink and white blend in this cool-season container garden. 'White Emperor' tulip is also known as 'Purissima'. Double-flowered 'Angelique' tulip evokes apple blossoms with its two-tone pink-and-white blooms.

Test Garden Tip: Repeat a combination of plants in pots or planting beds for greater impact.

Dusky Dynamo

The contrasting maroon foliage of 'Stormy Seas' heuchera, chartreuse lady's mantle, and 'Bountiful' fringed bleeding heart hides the base of leggy tulip stems. This blend of dusky shades includes 'Beauty Queen', 'Christmas Marvel', 'Purple Prince', 'Pink Impression', 'Cassini', 'Negrita', 'Jan Reus', 'Daydream', and 'Queen of Night'.

Test Garden Tip: To make dark blooms stand out in the garden, provide a light backdrop. Creamy-white viburnum blossoms set off these tulips.

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