Muscari and Daffodils Are Fall-Planted Flower Bulbs For Lasagna PlantingMuscari and Daffodils Are Fall-Planted Flower Bulbs For Lasagna Planting

Lasagna Planting Fall-Planted Bulbs For Spring Blooms

By Katrina Godshalk

It’s easy to have a non-stop spring bulb parade and create fantastic containers of spring-blooming bulbs... just think lasagna!

Fall-planted, spring-blooming bulbs are true icons of springtime, among the first to tickle our senses with the colorful and fragrant gifts of the garden. It can be a challenge to decide what to plant where, especially given that spring itself has its own seasons. Usually classed as early-spring, mid-spring, and late-spring, these delineations of bloom time are crucial when creating a spring bulb garden.

Luckily for us, Dutch bulb mavens developed what they call "lasagna planting," a way to layer your bulb plantings to create beautiful blooms all spring long, boasting colorful flowers in designs free from gaps in color. Plant three layers of bulbs — early, mid, and late spring — for a full season of flowers. The possibilities are endless, and whether planted in your garden or a container, you can let your creativity be your guide. Try both methods to enjoy the colorful impact of lasagna planting!

Follow our guide for tips on creating your own layered planting!

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Early-Spring-Blooming Muscari Appear First...Early-Spring-Blooming Muscari Appear First...
Early-Spring-Blooming Muscari Appear First...
Mid-Spring-Blooming Hyacinth Bloom Next...Mid-Spring-Blooming Hyacinth Bloom Next...
Mid-Spring-Blooming Hyacinth Bloom Next...
Late-Spring-Blooming Tulips For The Grand Finale!Late-Spring-Blooming Tulips For The Grand Finale!
Late-Spring-Blooming Tulips For The Grand Finale!

Choosing Fall-Planted Bulbs For Lasagna Planting 

  • Planting depth is determined by the size of the bulb, but generally, the larger bulbs bloom later.
  • Once you’ve selected your bulbs, simply place them into the correct layer in your planting.
  • On a small scale, consider planting a container of classic Tulips or Daffodils with three different bloom times.
  • On a large scale, consider a garden bed that changes through the seasons, with early spring Crocus, Muscari, and Scilla in early spring, mid-season Tulips, Daffodils and Hyacinth, followed by tall and stately late-season Darwin Tulips and Allium.

Whether planting in the garden or a container, your considerations are the same: the main factor is bloom time. Choose early-, mid-, and late-spring-blooming bulbs. Mix it up or keep it simple — the choice is yours! 

Small Early-Spring Blooming Bulbs

Choose your favorite early-spring blooming bulbs for the first signs of spring! We recommend Crocus, Specie IrisScillaMuscari (Grape Hyacinth)Chionodoxia (Blue Giant Glory Of The Snow), and Galanthus (Snowdrops).

Early-Spring-Blooming Muscari Appear First...Early-Spring-Blooming Muscari Appear First...
Muscari
  1. Crocus chrysanthus Orange Monarch, Crocus Orange Monarch

    from winter’s doldrums. Like a field of butterflies, the deep, rich orange petals of early blooming ‘Orange Monarch’ emerge in early spring with narrow, grass-like leaves, and ...

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    Orange Monarch Snow Crocus Orange Monarch Snow Crocus Crocus chrysanthus Orange Monarch
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    Per Bag of 12
    from winter’s doldrums. Like a field of butterflies, the deep, rich orange petals of early blooming ‘Orange Monarch’ emerge in early spring with narrow, grass-like leaves, and 3-4" tall blooms. The outside of the petals is a dramatic garnet-black giving them a rich jewel-tone glow. Plant these in the fall, and in dense groupings so that the color will make an impact. Perfect for a rock garden or rocky nook, path edge, or any place you will be able to appreciate them as winter gives way to spring.
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  2. Purple Crocus tommasinianus Bulbs Ruby Giant, Crocus tommasinianus, Crocus tommasinianus Bulbs Ruby Giant

    'Ruby Giant' is a very vigorous and showy variety. You can't go wrong planting this one among yellow flowered bulbs....

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    Tommasini's Ruby Giant Crocus Tommasini's Ruby Giant Crocus Crocus tommasinianus Ruby Giant
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    'Ruby Giant' is a very vigorous and showy variety. You can't go wrong planting this one among yellow flowered bulbs.
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  3. Spring Delight Crocus Collection

    Colorful heralds of warmer days to come, Crocus are cheery reminders that spring is on its way. Our Spring Delight Crocus Collection harmonizes beautifully together – whether you...

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    Spring Delight Crocus Bulb Collection Spring Delight Crocus Bulb Collection
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    Per Collection of 255
    Colorful heralds of warmer days to come, Crocus are cheery reminders that spring is on its way. Our Spring Delight Crocus Collection harmonizes beautifully together – whether you’re looking to add to an existing planting or just starting out. It’s also the perfect for planting into a lawn—the Crocus die back well before it’s time to mow and return each year.
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  4. Purple Crocus sieberi Bulbs Spring Beauty, Crocus sieberi, Siberian Crocus Bulbs Spring Beauty

    Crocus sieberi Bulbs Spring Beauty is a hard-to-find variety with lavender blue flowers marked with dark blue striping on the outer petals....

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    Spring Beauty Snow Crocus Spring Beauty Snow Crocus Crocus sieberi Spring Beauty
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    Crocus sieberi Bulbs Spring Beauty is a hard-to-find variety with lavender blue flowers marked with dark blue striping on the outer petals.
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Medium Mid-Spring Blooming Bulbs

Choose your favorite mid-spring blooming bulbs for a burst of color. We recommend TulipsDaffodils, and Hyacinth.

Mid-Spring-Blooming Hyacinth Bloom Next...Mid-Spring-Blooming Hyacinth Bloom Next...
Hyacinth

Large Late-Spring Blooming Bulbs

Choose your favorite late-spring to early-summer blooming bulbs for the finale that carries you into the summer garden. We recommend DaffodilsTulips, Fritillaria, and Allium.

Late-Spring-Blooming Tulips For The Grand Finale!Late-Spring-Blooming Tulips For The Grand Finale!
Tulips
  1. Ping Pong Allium, Allium Ping Pong

    There is nothing quite like 'Ping Pong' Allium to bring a smile to a garden viewer. Beloved by pollinators, this late-spring blooming Allium lights up the garden with white sphere-sh...

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    Ping Pong Allium Ping Pong Allium Allium Ping Pong
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    There is nothing quite like 'Ping Pong' Allium to bring a smile to a garden viewer. Beloved by pollinators, this late-spring blooming Allium lights up the garden with white sphere-shaped flower clusters. Planted en masse, the white blossoms shimmer in the sun, and sprinkled throughout a garden bed, they add highlights and texture to make other plants pop.
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  2. Flowering Onion, Allium atropurpureum

    Allium atropurpureum features umbels of burgundy-purple star-shaped flowers that harmonize with late spring blooms. Growing about 2 feet tall, this pollinator favorite creates a beau...

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    Allium atropurpureum Flowering Onion Allium atropurpureum
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    Allium atropurpureum features umbels of burgundy-purple star-shaped flowers that harmonize with late spring blooms. Growing about 2 feet tall, this pollinator favorite creates a beautiful focal point, and will also add a cheerful note to a planting bed when sprinkled among other spring flowers where it can dance in a breeze.
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  3. Purple Allium Bulbs Globe Master, Allium, Allium Bulbs Globe Master

    Globemaster Allium (Ornamental Onion) has giant 10" diameter violet flower heads on 2 to 3 ft. flower stems and blooms in early summer....

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    Globemaster Allium Globemaster Ornamental Onion Allium Globemaster
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    Globemaster Allium (Ornamental Onion) has giant 10" diameter violet flower heads on 2 to 3 ft. flower stems and blooms in early summer.
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  4. Purple Allium aflatunense Bulbs Purple Sensation, Allium aflatunense, Allium aflatunense Bulbs Purple Sensation

    Purple Sensation Allium blooms with large violet-purple globe shaped flowers on tall stems. A fantastic nectar source for the bees....

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    Purple Sensation Allium Purple Sensation Ornamental Onion Allium aflatunense Purple Sensation
    Sale Price I Save 25%
    $11.99 Sale $8.99
    Per Bag of 10
    Purple Sensation Allium blooms with large violet-purple globe shaped flowers on tall stems. A fantastic nectar source for the bees.
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Lasagna Planting In Containers  

The size of the container you choose will tell you how many layers of bulbs you can plant. A 10" deep container will hold two layers of bulbs; a 14" container will hold three layers. Make sure that your containers have drainage holes.

In colder zones, consider planting your bulbs in plastic nursery pots to avoid damage to expensive pottery as they may swell and contract with the temperature. They can be slipped inside your decorative containers in spring

 
 

Steps For Lasagna Planting In Containers:

 
  1. Prepare your containers. Place a layer of gravel in the bottom of the pot, then add a thick layer (2-3") of potting soil mixed with bulb food to your pot.
  2. Plant the first layer of bulbs. Place the first layer of bulbs in the pot, tightly spaced at about a 1/2" spacing, and cover with 2" of soil.
  3. Plant the second layer of bulbs. Next, add mid-spring bulbs that should be planted at about 6" deep. Place them close together, but allow some space for the lower bulbs to grow through (1-1 ½" apart). Don’t worry; the lower bulbs will find their way through the upper layers. Cover with 2" of soil.
  4. Plant the third layer of bulbs. Small bulbs that bloom in early spring. This time cover with 3-4" of soil and a light dressing of bulb food.
  5. Mulch well and water.

Lasagna Planting In The Garden

In the garden, lasagna planting works best where you have well-drained, loamy soil that can be dug to a depth of 8-12" (for three layers). If your soil is not that deep, go for two layers or just plant one layer in a traditional method. The size is up to you, but as you are planting more densely, even a 2' x 1' area will work nicely.

Bulb lasagna is perfect for areas that can be dug, where you’ll enjoy a concentrated, colorful, non-stop display. Some ideal locations are flower beds near a window or entry where you can enjoy the view, or as a centerpiece in a slowly awakening summer-blooming perennial bed.

In larger garden beds, you can plant in formal rows. Or, if you’d like a more natural, free-form look, scatter the bulbs and plant them where they lay.  

If mice, squirrels, voles, or gophers are a problem, consider lining your hole with gravel or chicken wire. Just cut the mesh to line one length plus the sides and lay shorter pieces cross-wise. Also, lay a piece of chicken wire over your new planting when finished to protect from squirrels as the soil resettles (squirrels love easy digging!) Alternatively, consider planting deer-and-critter-resistant Allium, Daffodil, Muscari, Fritillaria, Galanthus, and others as you plan your layout. They may help protect rodent favorites such as Tulips and Crocus. 

Steps For Lasagna Planting In The Garden:

  1. Dig the bed. Make sure your location will receive full sun and has good drainage. Many larger bulbs need to be planted at a depth of 8-9", so if you dig a 12" deep bed, you can loosen and enrich the soil beneath the first layer. 
  2. Amend the soil. Add some bulb food to your soil and backfill your hole to the desired planting depth of the first layer of bulbs, generally around 8-9" deep.
  3. Plant the first layer of bulbs. Place these bulbs in the soil, closely together but not touching (about a half-inch). Bulb packaging will include planting per square foot. Cover with soil.
  4. Plant the second layer of bulbs. Add about 2" of soil to bring your depth to about 6". Plant your second layer of bulbs, and leave a bit more room to accommodate the growing stems from lower bulbs, at least 1 ½" apart.
  5. Plant the third layer of bulbs. Cover the second layer with soil for your top planting depth of 2-3". Here you can plant your last layer of small bulbs. Plant densely and cover with 2-3" of soil. Add some bulb food to this layer and remember to feed your bed again in the spring.
  6. Water well to remove air pockets. You can cover your area with mulch if desired. In dry areas, water as needed to help the bulbs establish good root growth. Avoid overwatering that could rot bulbs.

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