When you are choosing which bulbs to buy for Spring flowers you may want to consider whether they will last for one season only or if they are perennial and so will flower again next year. This article by Andy McIndoe which I found on the Learning With Experts website discusses nine Spring flowering bulbs and explains how to grow them.
Some bulbs you plant this autumn will be a one season wonder, others may be long term garden plants that will come back year after year. So which are the survivors? Which are the hardy perennials among the bulbs? Personally bulbs that I grow in pots I regard as seasonal bedding plants.
After flowering they are committed to the compost heap. Those that I plant in beds and borders, or naturalise in grass, or plant under trees I expect to last. Cyclamen hederifolium, the autumn flowering hardy cyclamen is a good example; although it blooms in fall, it is often sold as a dry tuber at the same time.
It will seed and spread and establish well under trees, and it survives dry shade. If you do plant as dry “bulbs” then soak the tubers before you plant; water well until the leaves are well developed in winter.
Daffodils and narcissi are generally hardy bulbs which come back for years on most soils. They cope with cool conditions and heavy soil, unlike tulips. They are also left alone by deer, so a good choice for rural gardens. We have wild, native narcissi under the oak trees which are fantastic, unless the spring is dry. Then the foliage dies down quickly, and as a result flowering is poor the following year. We have a fantastic group of pink trumpet narcissi in the vegetable patch which have multiplied over the years.
We pick them for the house and enjoy them in the garden. Their dying foliage is smothered by variegated horseradish from late spring onwards, but it remains in good condition and dies down naturally, building the bulbs for the following year.
The true pheasant eye narcissus, Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus is an old cottage garden subject which, one established, will open its fabulous fragrant porcelain blooms much later than other daffs and narcissi.
Fine foliage and slender stems make this an altogether refined plant. It is worth growing if you only get a few flowers each year. A truly hardy perennial.
Tulips hail from warmer lands than narcissi. They hate cold wet winters, heavy soil and wet conditions. The survivors are the single flowered tall tulips: Darwin, triumph and early and late single varieties. For me purple black Queen of Night and purple and lilac toning varieties mix beautifully with emerging perennials and in mixed borders.
See more at Learning With Experts