If you’ve never heard of a bulb lasagne you’re probably raising your eyebrows right now. It is a real gardening ‘thing’ though!
This post explains what a bulb lasagne is, and why it’s a great gardening project to have a go at. There’s also a step-by-step planting guide, plus advice on the best bulbs to plant, and how to take care of your bulb lasagne so it provides you with months of beautiful flowers.
What is a bulb lasagne?
A bulb lasagne is a clever way of planting bulbs in pots in layers to create a nice full display of flowers that lasts for months. You layer up your bulbs in the same way you would add layers of pasta to an actual lasagne, hence the name. You might see this method also described as layered bulb planting, or lasagne bulb planting.
Layering bulbs in pots is really easy to do, and will give you a lovely display throughout the winter months and into late spring for very little effort. It’s also a brilliant way to make the most of space in a small garden, patio, or balcony container. What’s not to like?
Can you layer bulbs?
If you’re wondering how to plant bulbs in pots, layering different varieties in the same container is a great option. Flower bulbs will be perfectly happy to be layered up in a flower pot. The important thing to get right is the order in which you plant them. The ones that flower first should be planted on the top layer, with the ones that flower next on the second layer, and so on.
When is the best time to plant spring bulbs?
It’s important to plant bulbs at the right time of year, and this varies according to the variety you choose; check the packaging if you’re not sure. Spring flowering bulbs should be planted in autumn.
If you want to plant a bulb lasagne with summer flowering bulbs such as gladioli and dahlias, you need to plant it in early spring.
Can I plant on top of bulbs?
Absolutely. Winter bedding plants are a great way to give your spring display a head start before the bulbs flower.
How to plant a bulb lasagne
Autumn is the perfect time to plant bulbs for spring flowers, so if you’d like to have a go at planting a bulb lasagne, here’s how to do it.
What you need to plant a bulb lasagne
Here’s a list of the things you need to plant your bulb lasagne.
- *Spring bulbs
- *Multi-purpose compost or potting soil (our guide to the best compost for pots gives more advice and product options)
- *Gardening gloves
- Container with at least one drainage hole
- Winter bedding plants
- You might also like to use a *bulb starter to help your bulbs grow and increase their ability to absorb water and nutrients.
You’ll need a variety of spring bulbs with different flowering times for your container. The aim is to get a continuous succession of flowers for as long as possible, so check the flowering month on the bulb packet before you buy.
1. Prepare your container
When it comes to bulb lasagne planting, you’re going for big impact and wow factor. A great way to achieve this is to pack the container full of bulbs; bear this in mind when choosing the size of your plant pot.
It’s a good idea to put some ‘crocks’ (broken pieces of terracotta) or a layer of gravel in the bottom of the pot. This will help to provide good drainage and prevent excess water in the container.
Once you’ve done this, add your first layer of compost to the container, until it’s about one-third full.
2. Plant your layers of bulbs
Wondering “What order do I layer my bulbs?” Here’s a quick guide.
For the first layer of bulbs in the container, you want to plant the latest flowering bulbs. Once they’re in, cover them over with a layer of soil.
The bulbs that flower before the bottom layer go in next. Again, cover this second layer of bulbs with a layer of compost.
The final layer should be the bulbs that flower first.
It’s important you plant your bulbs in the right order, and it’s surprisingly easy to get mixed up! I’ve found that laying out each variety in a line before I start really helps.
3. Add plants to the top of your bulb lasagne
Your bulbs won’t flower until late winter, so you need to add plants to the top of the container to create a lovely display in the meantime. To do this, cover your top layer of bulbs with compost, then add your plants on top and fill in any gaps with more compost. You can then top dress with decorative gravel if you like.
Keep your container moist, but don’t be tempted to over-water. Bulbs hate sitting in cold, soggy soil.
Bulb lasagne ideas: what to plant with container bulbs
Now your bulb lasagne is planted, you might be thinking ‘What can I plant on top of bulbs in pots?’. There are lots of lovely options here that will make your container look fantastic until the bulbs start to put on a show.
Winter flowering pansies, violas, cyclamen and heather are all great options for the top of your bulb lasagne. I think it’s also worth adding in some foliage plants such as ivy, heuchera or cineraria to really boost the impact. Evergreen plants work well too at this time of year.
Great bulbs for planting in a bulb lasagne
Need some help with the best bulbs for bulb lasagne loveliness?Here are some ideas for *spring bulbs which you could use on each layer of your lasagne:
- Bottom layer: tulips, hyacinths
- Next layer: narcissus, daffodils, anemone, muscari (grape hyacinths)
- Top layer: snowdrop, crocus, miniature iris reticulata
You can buy bulb collections or a bulb lasagne kit that’s designed for layering bulbs, or make up your own bulb lasagne combinations to suit the size of your containers.
Here’s a short time-lapse video of beautiful crocuses to inspire you to get planting!
What to do with bulbs in containers after flowering
Your bulb lasagne should flower for you year after year, but the bulbs will benefit from a feed after a couple of seasons.
Can I leave bulbs in pots for next year?
If you’d rather not leave your bulbs in their container, you can dig them up once the foliage has died back and dry them out, then store them. I have to admit I’ve never bothered doing this though, I like the low-maintenance element of leaving well alone!
I do replace the top layer of compost when I change the bedding plants, to give the whole container some fresh nutrients for next spring.
And that’s it – a quick gardening project that will give you lots of beautiful blooms to enjoy in the depths of winter 🙂
More garden bulb planting resources
If you’re also planting bulbs in the garden, you might like to check out my post on planting bulbs, which has a step-by-step guide to help you get it right.
And if you’re planting spring bulbs in large quantities, how about forcing a few of them to flower early for indoor blooms this winter? This is another easy project – and they make great gifts too. My post on forcing bulbs shows you how to do it.
Do you think you’ll have a go at bulb layering by planting a bulb lasagne with different types of bulbs? I’d love to hear what you choose to plant, I’ve still got some containers to fill so inspire me!
More nature inspiration for kids
Planting a bulb lasagne is just one of the fun nature projects in my book, *A Year of Nature Craft and Play. There’s an activity for every week of the year and it includes fun gardening projects, crafts, games, art and science experiments – perfect for inspiring kids to embrace nature play and explore the amazing natural world.
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