good groundcovers above bulbs?

What are some good groundcovers to plant above tulips, big floppy crocus, etc? Some of the groundcovers I have tried just didn't work too well, they were too aggressive. There are a few areas where I have a lot of bulbs for spring but really there is nothing there after the bulbs stop blooming.
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griffon said:

Late emerging perennials (depending on the sun exposure) -- ones that die back completely (leaving no rosette of leaves) and emerge slowly when the weather improves.
Hostas can work in areas that are shaded by trees in summer. Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (leadwort, 'hardy plumbago') might work in those areas, too. This one does like to spread around a bit, but isn't so agressive that the bulbs can't come up through it.
For sunnier areas late-emergers like balloon flower (and butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) might fit the bill.
Or, you might consider woody flowering plants that get cut back hard every year (like Buddleia or Caryopteris).
And don't forget annual bedding plants! Start some later than normal and set them out as the bulb foliage ripens. (I'm partial to dwarf Cosmos and various types of Salvia as they don't seem to get eaten up by bunnies and earwigs.)
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try Herman's pride Lamium, or Anne Greenaway. Makes a mat of varigation but all bulbs can poke thru it. Dry shade would be Epimedium's. A bit more thatchy in roots but some bulbs can compete just fine. Ajuga is good too. Makes a great ground cover, has blue flowers in spring and depending on the variety, very nice foliage. I even have a patch of Lemon verbena that covers too much ground that bulbs come up thru just fine, and if I don't want it everywhere, I pull out what I don't want and cook with some, enjoy the smell and compost the rest. madgardener up on the ridge, back in Fairy HOller overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36
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Hello

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One problem with companion plant groundcovers with bulbs is the companions will often need watering through summer when some if not most bulbs are dormant & regular watering would cause them to rot.
I've found ornamental strawberries can get by without TOO much summer watering, plus can bloom spring through autumn. http://www.paghat.com/strawberrylipstick.html
Campnula poscharskyana, or Serbian bellflower, also thrives with spring moisture & summer droughtiness, & in my zone blooms for about six months right into the heart of autumn. http://www.paghat.com/campanula10.html
Dwarf lemon thyme is a good groundcover companion for the sorts of tulips that need it very dry in summer.
Ballotta nigra 'Variegata' is a loosely trailing groundcover; the root remains a clump but the branchings can cover a four by four foot area, & I have it planted with two-foot or taller tulips. http://www.paghat.com/horehoundvar.html
Several other herbs do well in lots of sun without need of too much watering & remain short enough & not too densely rooted that they do well well over bulbs. Such as Tricolor marjorum: http://www.paghat.com/marjoram.html
-paghat the ratgirl
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Companions that don't require water?
Dianthus, Campanulas, Lavendulas, rock soapwort, salvia, violas (rampant self seeder), herbaceous pontentilla (very sprawly and long lasting) are all things I found work well with the bulbs. I assume this is full sun. I don't water any of these and they don't seem to need it.
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I just sow sweet alyssum and california poppies in late fall or very early spring over bulbs. These plants are well-established and even blooming by the time that the bulb foliage peters out, and don't need too much supplemental water - although in my low-humidity western climate, watering does not appear to rot bulbs out anyway.
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