A field of flowers

Lasagna Bulb Planting

Lasagna Bulb Planting: Seasons of Delight

Bulbs are a great way to add color to borders, planters, and even within your lawn or xeriscaping! When you need something that works well as a set it and forget it method to enhance your property, bulbs are ideal. A little bit of digging, careful placement, and knowing what and when your bulbs will yield beautiful blooms is key when you get to digging. But not everyone has the kind of flower beds traditionally used for bulbs, or they want to do something different to really show off the colors throughout the season. Lasagna planting is a method that allows you to get creative with your bulbs throughout the season.

What is lasagna bulb planting?

Just like money doesn’t grow on trees, lasagna doesn’t grow from bulbs. The name comes from the method of planting the bulbs in layers with the latest blooming bulbs being the deepest layer. As the bulbs sprout, grow, and bloom, your pots will change with the season, giving color to your garden, porch, or anywhere else you want to plant! Planting in pots makes your bulbs portable and easier to change out later in the year when it is time to let them rest.

  • Types of Flowerpots: Flowerpots come in different sizes, shapes, and materials, and lasagna planting allows you to use just about any type of pot, provided it leaves enough room for the bulbs and allows for proper drainage.  From small terra cotta pots to large plastic pots, you can also take advantage of the portability of pots when it comes to microclimates in your yard, deck, or even balcony. 
  • Choices of bulbs: You can grow tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, and crocuses all in the same pot. Check your bulb catalog or ask someone at your local nursery which types of bulbs grow best in your area. Because of the advantage you get from microclimates around your house, you might be surprised at which zones you might be able to take advantage of in your project. Don’t be afraid to get creative! You might be surprised at the results.
  • How to layer: However many you decide to plant really depends on the size of your pot. To eliminate root rot, parasites, and blight it is important to arrange the bulbs so that they are not coming into contact with other bulbs or the surface of the pot itself. A layer of soil between each bulb as well as each layer accomplishes this. Typically three layers of bulbs will get you the desired results. Beginners should start with two and as your skills in planting match your creativity, you can push the envelope to see how many more you can do. As long as there is a layer of soil and good drainage, you can put a lot of bulbs in one pot.
  • How far ahead to do this: Bulbs need time to “wake up” when you plant them, but because the soil temperature will raise much quicker in pots than it will in flower beds, there is less lead time to get started. But in the case of bulbs that difference is still counted in months. When planting in beds in late summer or early fall, bulb lasagna can be planted later in the year in November depending on your region.
  • Spruce it up!: Your pots might look pretty empty until they really start to take off. You can make them look better by adding a layer of decorative landscaping gravel, glass beads, or go nuts and make a fairy house if you feel the urge. The beauty of a bulb lasagna is the ability to be creative and have fun with it.

Make it personal

Not everyone has the chance to plant bulbs in beds, whether it is where you live, such as an apartment or townhome, or your climate doesn’t allow for using a lot of water in beds, bulb lasagna planting gives you the opportunity to get creative with your planting and make your space a thing of beauty. Your choice of bulbs, pots, and how you choose to arrange everything will allow for an entire spring and summer of ever-changing wonders that will probably always surprise you with what happens next.

Katie Namet

The Potager Gardener

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