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Bulb Lasagna Plantings: a Feast for the Eyes


Lasagna? Isn’t that a tasty dish made from layers of pasta and fillings? You are absolutely right! And after reading this you’ll understand how to make a feast of a different kind, one that’s intended for the eyes, by creating a bulb lasagna planting!

Why plant lasagna-style?

Colourful container plantings really bring your spring bulbs into prominence, but to get a display that lasts throughout the season, rather than just blooming for a few weeks, you need to combine early, mid and late spring bloomers. But with limited space at your disposal, you don’t want to have great big gaps between the bulbs that will result in a half-hearted display.

To overcome this, the Dutch developed the rather clever ‘lasagna’ planting technique that allows you to have a pot chock full of blooms that will be followed by more and yet more varieties as the spring progresses.

Won’t the bottom-most bulbs rot?

Choosing a well-drained container is important whenever you grow plants in pots, but it’s especially important when creating a lasagna planting. As long as you have chosen the right sort of container, the lower down, later flowering bulbs find their way around the bulbs planted above them, giving you the beautiful blooms you were hoping for.

What bulbs can I combine?

Some people choose tulips from start to finish, planting three layers of varieties based on their flowering times. Others like to place larger bulbs as the bottom layer, working up to the smaller, early blooming bulbs like crocus and muscari. We’ll explain our favourite recipe for this dishy delight, and a few variations, but do feel free to get creative and develop your own combinations.

How does one plant a bulb lasagna?

Choose a pot with nice, big drainage holes. You can place a layer of gravel at the bottom to improve drainage if you like, but a well-drained potting mix should do the trick on its own. Once you have your first layer of potting medium in the pot, begin with your large, late flowering bulb choice. This could be a late spring narcissus or tulip, or you can choose alliums instead. Place the bulbs close together, but don’t let them touch each other or the sides of the pot.

Now add a layer of soil, and firm it down lightly around your bulbs. You are now ready to plant your mid-spring layer. Again, Tulips and Narcissi include mid-spring bloomers, but you can also choose hyacinths for this layer.

Time to add more pasta (in this case, potting soil)! Now it’s time to plant your final layer of early bloomers. To get a lot of variety from your containers, try using crocus, musari (grape hyacinth), or choose early-blooming narcissi. Cover them with potting soil, add water and wait for the results!

One big bang of colour

Some people like to choose simultaneous bloomers for lasagna plantings for an explosion of colour. Tulips can be colour matched and combined as can narcissi. Others like to plant only two layers, for example, tulips combined with grape hyacinths. It’s a stunning combination, and there’s nothing to stop you from choosing this approach.

Flower arranging before the flowers arrive

As you get used to the lasagna planting method, you’ll become increasingly confident and creative with your combinations. You’ll even be able to imagine the end result ahead of time. So start this autumn, and develop your floral chef skills as you go! Lasagna plantings are fun and fabulous, and you’ll love the results.


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