Planting flower bulbs in layers

Successive flowering

Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses: each one a colourful harbinger of spring. After all, flower bulbs are the first plants to provide the garden with colour. Each flower bulb blooms at a certain time. By planting flower bulbs in layers, the early-flowering ones like crocuses emerge first. Following them are the flower bulbs with later flowering periods. This successive flowering ensures you of extra long enjoyment – from January until sometimes in May.

Garden, patio or balcony

Planting flower bulbs in layers is also known as lasagne planting. You can apply this method to spring-flowering bulbs. By planting them in the autumn, they get exposed to the cold period they need during the winter. After this cold period, they will then wake up when temperatures rise and start growing and flowering. But what if you have no garden? You can plant flower bulbs in layers in flower pots and containers as well as in the garden soil.


Making a lasagne planting isn’t difficult; you’ll have it all done in just eight steps. Ingredients? Use generously sized pots or containers, hydroponic clay pebbles, potting compost and flower bulbs. Make sure that the bottom of the pot or container has holes so that excess water can drain away.

  1. Place a layer of hydroponic clay pebbles or pot shards on the bottom.
  2. Then add a 10 cm layer of potting compost.
  3. Plant the first layer of flower bulbs on top of the compost. Arrange them closely together for a stunning flowering display.
  4. Cover the first layer of flower bulbs with about 5 cm of potting compost and plant the next layer on top. These flower bulbs can also be planted closely together, but leave a few millimetres free for the young leaves.
  5. Sprinkle potting compost over the second layer of flower bulbs and then plant the third and last layer.
  6. Then fill up the pot with potting compost.
  7. Tamp the potting compost gently and give the flower bulbs some water.
  8. Give them another generous splash of water in January and February. This keeps the flower bulbs from drying out.

The same steps should be taken for flower bulbs planted in the garden. Instead of using a pot or container, dig a large hole in the border. Don’t use hydroponic clay pebbles when planting flower bulbs in the garden.

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You can use all kinds of flower bulbs for planting in layers. Just pay attention to their flowering periods so that you will get successive flowering instead of having them flower all at once. The flower bulbs with the latest flowering period are planted in the lowest level, and the ones flowering earliest are planted in the top layer. Need inspiration? This blue and white recipe is suitable for either pots or in the garden.

Bottom layer:

Tulip (Tulipa) ‘Boston’, ‘Green Wave’.

Middle layer:

Hyacinth (Hyacinthus) ‘Blue Jacket’, Daffodil (Narcissus) ‘Ice King’, ‘Sir Winston Churchill’.

Top layer:

Anemone (Anemone coronaria) ‘Lord Lieutenant’, Grecian Windflower (Anemone blanda) ‘Blue Shades’, Dwarf Iris (Iris reticulata) ‘Harmony’, Grape Hyacinth (Muscari), Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica).

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