September 25, 2016
Three of a Kind: Spring Bulbs, Containers, and Lasagna Planting
Published by Bucks Country Gardens in Plants
You hear about spring bulbs and, naturally, the first thing that comes to mind is spring. You hear the word lasagna and you may be wondering what these two things have in common. The answer is lasagna planting—a method of stacking bulbs in layers. As a gardening novice, the fact that these subjects went together blew my mind. For fall, the only connection I could think of was spring bulbs and container gardening. Only as I did more research upon the recommendation of a garden center employee, did I realize how spring bulbs, containers, and lasagna planting could be pieces to the same puzzle.
The threat of frost is real but spring bulbs are perfect for fall planting. It allows them a precious spring bloom while avoiding the stress of heat. We also love them for their ability to benefit a gardener with a lack of space.
Better yet, they are adaptable. They can be grown in decorative pots and containers for patios and decks. While planting in such a way can be more difficult, it is very rewarding and can give the planter more control over the environment—in addition to the decorative perks! Bulbs can also survive in a variety of container sizes. If you want them to survive the winter, it’s key to pick a container or pot that will best the winter months. In short: avoid ceramics and terra cotta—the expanding frozen soil will crack them. Meanwhile, if you do it right, you have easy access to decorative plants to be housed indoors and overwintered.
Lasagna planting is the wildcard, the craze that really caught me off guard. While it is a method of placing bulbs in layers within the pot, it has a greater purpose. The goal is to provide an assemblage of bulbs to decorate the container and provide more blooms. If the bloom time differs, it will only make the container more unique. The bloom will seem continuous! Without even getting into colors, there are a number of combinations. Add in those options and your possibilities become endless.
Container size can vary when planting spring bulbs. However, we do recommend a container that is both wide and deep enough to handle lasagna planting, should you choose to go that route. A 9-10 inch deep container will hold two layers of bulbs while a 14 inch deep (or greater) container can hold three layers of bulbs. Almost like baking, you don’t want to keep things too close to the edge of your container.
Here’s an example of how to layer. The first thing you want to do is spread gravel across the bottom of the container followed by a hearty layer of bulb food and potting soil. Cap the layer with your first set of bulbs (typically your largest bulbs) and then cover them with soil. Place your middle bulbs and add soil. Your third and final set of bulbs (whether it’s two or three layers of bulbs) should be covered with a coat of soil, roughly an inch. Any bulbs above ground require extra support due to the cold.
At our garden center, we have ways to complete this project from start to finish, whether you’re looking for containers and pots to soil mixtures and food. For food, you can never go wrong with the Espoma organic line of foods, specifically the Bulb-tone in this case. The best part: we even have options and recommendations of bulbs for you to use for each layer…
• Top Layer: Crocus, Scilla, Chiondoxa, Muscari,
• Middle Layer: Hyacinth and/or Tulips
• Bottom Layer: Daffodils and/or Allium
What you pay in patience is nothing compared to the awing, talk-of-the-town result. Give lasagna planting a try this fall to spruce up your spring bulbs and container gardening, and you’ll have your three of a kind.
Kyle Vargo | Digital Marketing Assistant
Nancy G. McIlvaine | Lawn & Garden Manager
*Photos of Lasagna Planting courtesy of Netherland Bulb Company