Help a reader: What perennials do you plant around tulips to cover the dying leaves?

tulips in Cleve-Hill Cheektowaga NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

Here’s a question from a reader:

Does anyone have suggestions for perennials to plant with spring bulbs this fall that will emerge and cover the leaves of the tulips and daffodils after they bloom and then slowly turn yellow?  It’s a south-facing spot with much sun and good drainage, along my garage wall.  

Thank you!  

Val Betts 

Lake View (Hamburg)


I talked to Claudia Kolbe-Hawthorne of the Cleve-Hill section of Cheektowaga last year about how she gets waves of color in her garden beds. She has hyacinths, followed by daffodils, then masses of colorful tulips.

She plants perennials, such as columbine, dianthus, coneflowers, coreopsis and sedum, around the bulbs so that those plants can cover the dying leaves. You can get a tour of her spring garden here.

Readers, do you have more suggestions for perennials to plant around your spring bulbs? If so, please leave a comment for Val below.

How to get your questions answered

Sometimes readers contact me with questions that I can’t answer. I’m not a gardening expert– I’m a writer by profession. I interview knowledgeable people in order to provide you with great articles on

So when someone asks a question I can’t answer, I post the question and rely on my readers to share their expertise. If you have advice for Val, please leave a comment below. If you want to know the answer to this question, check back later to read the comments.

Sending a question to me to post can be helpful if you’re looking for a wide range of opinions and don’t mind waiting for the answer. If you want to try this route, email the question to me at and I’ll pose it to my readers in an upcoming issue.

A more efficient route for getting your questions answered is to turn to Master Gardeners with Cornell Cooperative Extension or to turn to your local garden center.

For Master Gardeners at Cornell Cooperative Extension Erie County, call (716) 652-5400 from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays or email them at For Chautauqua County, email your question to; call the Helpline at (716) 664-9502, ext 224, or stop in to the Frank Bragg Ag Center, 3542 Turner Rd., Jamestown,  from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesdays.

There are helpful Cornell Cooperative Extension offices in other counties, too. Find contact information here for your county’s Cooperative Extension office.

The businesses that support this magazine have very knowledgeable staff. Check out our Gardening Directory or click on the ads to the right.

5 Comments on “Help a reader: What perennials do you plant around tulips to cover the dying leaves?

  1. Tall sedum might work too and it blooms in late summer; I second the suggestion for daylilies. Make sure you cut back the sedum about early to mid summer to keep it from flopping over.

  2. Most perennials and especially annuals do a great job of “blending and disguising” the dying foliage of bulbs. My own garden had a wealth of bulbs, all extending the bulb season, complimenting companion plants and being hidden by the constantly changing parade of bloom all the way through to the end of the growing season. If interested, check out posts on my blog at the end of April through May to see how the garden progresses. I carpet the garden and it changes greatly through the three seasons of garden growth.

  3. Hello Val. I also suggest Daylilies and may I say, if you are looking for some very nice varieties all hybrid and bloom at different times throughout the summer, your speaking with the right guy! We did and divide plants in our gardens every year and we have a ton of very nice looking ones right now all potted up, well established and ready for planting. If you friend me on FaceBook you will see pics of the great ones we have currently.
    you can e-mail me directly as well.
    Facebook link below;

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