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Layering Bulbs in Containers

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Layering Bulbs in Containers

If you’ve ever made a luscious homemade lasagna, you’re already familiar with the type of planting we’re talking about today. This is all about container planting bulbs in layers so the end result is a gorgeous flower show with staggered bloom time. You simply keep adding layers — just like with your lasagna noodles, sauce, and cheese — until each container is planted. It’s as easy as it sounds, and even more fun! 

What flowering bulbs can I use in this layering technique?

 Any bulbs you want, as long as they have the same growing requirements in terms of sunlight and water. Ideally, you’ll want to choose bulbs that bloom successively so you lengthen the amount of time that container is in bloom, but we’ll talk you through that in just a minute.

Why would I want to do this?

How about because it’s easy, fun, and allows you to plant more bulbs in a small footprint? More bulbs = more beauty, that’s what we always say. Consider how, when you’re planting bulbs out in the garden, you sometimes have gaps in between your plantings. With this method, all those gaps are eradicated, resulting in lush, full, and colorful blooms.

How to Layer Bulbs in Containers

Let’s get down to it! One thing we really like about this method is that you can pot up layered bulbs at different times of the year, maximizing your container bulb garden. Just gather a few simple supplies and you’re ready to go. We’re going to show you the planting method first, then give you ideas of some smashing bulb combos that will brighten up your garden’s gathering areas.

Supplies

Containers (terracotta, plastic, or ceramic) with adequate drainage holes

Potting soil

Your bulbs of choice

Hand trowel

  1. Place a layer of soil in the bottom of your container.
  2. Gently place the largest bulbs on top of that layer of soil. Plant them close together without actually touching each other.
  3. Top with a layer of soil.
  4. Add your medium-sized bulbs on top.
  5. Top with another layer of soil.
  6. Finish with your smallest bulbs with 1-2” of soil on top.

Tip: Try to offset your layers of plantings so that the bottom layer of larger bulbs can grow up through the layers above without disturbing the smaller bulbs.

Planting Recipes for Layering Bulbs in Containers

We recommend choosing 2-3 different bulbs per container — one early-blooming variety, a mid-season bloomer, and one that blooms later in the season. You can mix and match, but these are some of our favorite combos. The recipes are listed with their bloom time in order: the first bulb is the earliest bloomer, the second bulb is the mid-season bloomer, and the last bulb is (you guessed it!) the latest blooming of the combo.

Remember, because they are blooming one after another, the colors don’t even need to “go” together — but to be on the safe side in case of bloom overlap, we’d pick flowers that coordinate nicely.

Recipes for Successive Blooming 

Tulip Abba

Tulip Monte Carlo

Tulip Spring Green

Crocus Vernus

Daffodil Yellow Cheerfulness

Tulip White Parrot

Crocus Large Flowering Mix

Hyacinth Fondant

Allium Mount Everest

Giant Snowdrops 

Hyacinth Jan Bos

Narcissus Ice Follies

Recipes for Simultaneous Blooming

Muscari Armeniacum & Anemone Blanda

Muscari Aremiacum & Tulip Maureen

Tulip Kikomachi & Dutch Iris Telstar

Tulip Pinocchio & Anemone Blanda

Anemone Blanda Blue & White Hyacinth

Allium Silver Springs & Tulip Black Hero

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  • Jenny Peterson