Enjoy waves of spring color– in a single spot

diagram showing how to layer bulbs
Illustration courtesy Joanie Long of the East Aurora Garden Club

by Connie Oswald Stofko

Here’s a way to enjoy waves of spring color in a single spot in a garden bed– or even in a container.

This information came to me from Joanie Long, chair of the horticulture committee with the East Aurora Garden Club, who gave a presentation to her club on the topic last year.

She calls this method of planting bulbs layering or lasagna gardening. Instead of planting crocuses here and tulips over there, all of the bulbs are planted the same area, but in layers.

In the spring they’ll come up in sequence and grow around and through each other easily, blooming at different times.

If you’re working in a garden bed, dig a hole slightly deeper than the recommended depth for the bulb. If you’re using a pot, put some gravel in the bottom.

Place some compost or potting soil in first, then place the bulbs on top, about 2 inches apart. Cover with potting soil or garden soil.

Layer in the next bulbs that require a shallower depth, and cover them with more soil. Try not to place a bulb directly over a bulb beneath it.

Top with shallow-planted bulbs and cover them with 2 inches of soil.

In your deepest layer, about 6 to 8 inches deep, plant daffodils, narcissus or allium.

Your next layer could include tulips, hyacinths or galanthus (snowdrops).

Your top layer could include crocuses, iris reticulata and other small bulbs.

You can use fertilizer, Long said, but avoid fertilizer that contains bone meal. Cats, raccoons and other diggers like bone meal and may disturb your bulbs.

She suggests getting more information at Garden Forever or seeing the photo here.

Here are more tips on spring bulbs:






6 Comments on “Enjoy waves of spring color– in a single spot

  1. Hi Donna, it might be safe outside in the garden. To be safer, you could place the pot in a sheltered spot outside near a fence or inside an unheated garage. If you keep them in the basement, they may start growing in the middle of winter. See more in this article. I hope that helps. Thanks for the question.

  2. Connie, If you do this in a pot, in the fall, where do you keep the pot over the winter? Outside in the garden? In the garage? Basement?

    Thank you!

  3. Been doing that forever. It works great and also can discourage squirrels with planting the alliums. I have loads of tulips and many allium bulbs planted.

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