Lasagna Bulb Pot Easy Fall Project
An Easy Fall Project
Like the pasta dish it's named after, lasagna bulb container gardens are arranged in layers.
Layering bulbs in flower pots is an easy, space-saving method for producing gorgeous container flowers that will bloom from March through May.
Unlike beds of bulbs, which can look messy after the blooms fade, a bulb container garden can simply be moved to an out-of-the-way location until it begins to sprout again the following spring.
What You'll Need
Growing a lasagna bulb pot is easy, and it doesn't require any special equipment. All you need is:
- Ordinary potting mix
- A large, deep flower pot
- Early, mid, and late spring-blooming bulbs, such as crocus, narcissus, and tulip
To feed the bulbs, you can also add bonemeal to the layers of your container garden.
Select a Large Flower Pot and Add Soil
This year I chose a very large lightweight pot for our container bulb garden. Even partially filled with soil, it's heavy, but because of its rounded bottom I can tip and roll it to an out-of-the-way spot behind some shrubbery until spring.
Once you've added a good base of soil, it's time to plant the bulbs.
Fill about 1/3 of the pot (or more, depending upon the depth of the container) with ordinary potting mix.
Depending upon the bulbs that you're planting and the size of your pot, you may have to adjust the amount of soil as you plant.
Layer 1: Largest Bulbs
Because the daffodil bulbs that I purchased were the largest of the group, I planted them first at six inches deep after sprinkling the soil with bonemeal.
Check the packaging on your bulbs for planting depth. Not all narcissus are the same, and some may do better if planted eight inches deep. I chose a mid-spring blooming daffodil that will flower just as the tulips are beginning to fade.
When planting the bulbs be sure to set them so that the pointy side is up. I planted mine about four inches apart, as I intend to use this container bulb garden year and year and anticipate that the bulbs will reproduce. However, you could also plant them thickly, so that they're almost touching, for a thick mass of flowers the first time.
Cover the bulbs with soil, and then plant the next batch of spring bulbs, in our case, tulips.
Don't worry about positioning the bulbs so that they are not directly over top of each other. The sprouts will easily grow around the bulbs above them.
Layer 2: Similar to Layer 1
After you've covered up the first layer of bulbs, measure from the soil to the where the soil line will be before planting the next layer.
The early spring tulips that we purchased need to be planted about five inches deep. After checking and adjusting the amount of soil in the pot, I sprinkled in bonemeal and then placed the bulbs pointy side up.
As with the daffodil bulbs, I spaced them out, positioning them about three inches apart, but I could have planted them thickly, setting the bulbs side by side.
To Pot or Not to Pot?
Will you try a lasagna bulb pot?
Layer 3: Smallest Bulbs
Now it's time to plant the smallest of the bulbs, which have the most shallow planting depth.
I chose crocus, an early spring bloomer that will come up at about the same time as the tulips.
Once again, I measured from the soil to where the soil line will be. To plant the crocus bulbs three inches deep, I had to add more soil. Then I sprinkled on bonemeal and placed the bulbs.
Tips and bottoms are sometimes difficult to distinguish with small bulbs like crocus, so you'll probably have to examine each one carefully before setting it in place.
If you do set a bulb on its side or upside down, however, no worries: if it's a healthy bulb, it will sprout anyway. It will just take longer to burst through the soil than the other bulbs.
Either cover the surface of the soil with the small bulbs so that they're almost touching each other or space them a few inches apart. Then cover them with about three inches of soil.
Once you've planted all the layers, water the pot well. Then apply a thin layer of grit or gravel if you like, gently patting the stones into place. (Sharp stones will deter pests from digging in the pot.)
This year I am picking out the sharpest, pointiest bits of gravel I can find and topping our lasagna pot with them. Our biggest garden pest, the dog, has been known to dig up bulbs (repeatedly) in order to lick off the bonemeal. Luckily for him, his good looks and charm are such that we overlook his little idiosyncrasies, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try to slow down the destruction, at least a little bit.
Planting Time Table
Late Autumn: After planting your lasagna bulb pot, water it thoroughly and set it in an out-of-the-way location where it will continue to enjoy natural light and rain.
Early Spring: In early spring, when the earliest bloomers begin to sprout, move the container bulb garden to a prime location where its flowers can be seen and enjoyed.
Summer: When the last of the late spring blooms fade, set the pot out of the way—to the side of the house or behind the garden shed— after giving it a good dose of fertilizer.
Set the lasagna bulb pot in an inconspicuous location in your garden—behind the tool shade or by the side of the house or, in our case, behind a bush in the flower bed.
Don't shelter the pot. Allow it to receive natural light and water.
Ignore the pot until spring when the earliest bloomers (the crocus bulbs) begin to sprout. Then it's time to place the pot where you can enjoy its flowers until they fade in late spring/early summer. Be sure to water them during the blooming period.
Once the last of the tulip blooms die, place the pot once again in an inconspicuous spot in your garden.
Fertilize it with bone meal or a fertilizer made specifically for bulbs, and leave it alone until next spring when your lasagna pot of bulbs will once more burst into bloom.
If squirrels and mice are a problem where you live, cover the top of the soil with gravel to deter them from digging.
This year, I didn't bother to cover my pots with gravel, and squirrels dug the bulbs out of one of them. Now the other two are in bloom, and it's just a sad little pot of dirt!
© 2012 Jill Spencer