Moving it Underground: Layering Large and Little Bulbs

Layering Fall Planted Bulbs - Tulips, Muscari, Daffodils - Makes for a Coloful Spring Display!Layering Fall Planted Bulbs - Tulips, Muscari, Daffodils - Makes for a Coloful Spring Display!
Layering Fall Planted Bulbs - Tulips, Muscari, Daffodils - Makes for a Coloful Spring Display!

 

Fall is coming! In the high country of New Mexico, the tallest mountain peaks are starting to collect some snow and the frosts down in town will become harder and more frequent. This is also the time of year when the action in our gardens will move underground.

Planting Spring-Bloming Flower Bulbs is one of the best ways to follow in nature’s footsteps by moving gardening underground, and finishing our garden chores for the year.

Small bulbs, including Crocus, Miniature Iris, and Muscari (Grape Hyacinths) are some of the very best spring bloomers. They are famous for waking up our gardens in the early spring.

The key to a great display of the small bulbs is to plant a lot of them. Planting small bulbs in drifts or patches of 48 bulbs or more will allow small flowers become a huge pool of color when they come into bloom together.

Fortunately, it's easy to plant lots of flower bulbs at once! You can maximize your spring bulb display by layering several bulbs in the same planting hole. That way, you can dig once, but plant for a variety of blooms! The rule of thumb is that the larger the bulb, the deeper it's planted. Follow our tips for layering your fall bulbs.

Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) Photo by Customer By Josue D.Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) Photo by Customer By Josue D.
Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) Photo by Customer By Josue D.

How To Layer Fall-Planted Bulbs

 

Layering bulbs in the garden

 

Layering your bulbs is a great way to maximize your spring bulb displays.  In nature, different bulbs establish themselves at different depths in the soil, so we can imitate nature by doing it ourselves. Plant a large bulb and a small bulb (or two) in the same planting hole. It’s a great labor saver and makes the spring display that much longer and more colorful.

  • For example, larger Daffodils or Tulip bulbs need to be planted at a depth of about 8 inches. 
  • So after dropping a daffodil or tulip into its hole and covering it with a few inches of dirt, you now have a 4 inch deep hole.
  • Drop 2-4 Crocus, Miniature Iris or Muscari bulbs into the planting hole.  Then fill with soil to ground level, water well, and you're done!

Tips:

  • When planting bulbs be sure to have a bucket or wheelbarrow with a mixture of Yum Yum Mix (or Yum Yum Mix Winterizer), compost and soil ready. This way you can enrich the soil by simply filling the holes with the soil/compost/Yum Yum Mix blend.
  • Water in your new bulb transplants with a good soaking 
  • Where appropriate, apply a couple inches of mulch to tuck them in.

These bulbs will live together harmoniously and multiply themselves to make even bigger showier patches over time.

In places of great bulb diversity like South Africa (the world’s epicenter for bulb species) there are often hundreds of bulbs and dozens of species in every square yard of ground, all growing at different depths in the soil.

 

A Reminder:

Above ground perennial plants are also moving their activity underground! Woody plants are busy transporting accumulated nutrients from the stems and leaves down into the roots, which are actively growing with the onset of the short days of fall. Perennials are doing the same thing, moving their stored nutrients from the dying stem and leaves down into their roots and crowns. This is, in part, why fall planting of many plants is so ideal: all of their energy goes into growing and expanding their root systems. So, don’t cut back your perennials until spring and wait to do pruning of woody plants until December or next year.

Shop Fall Planted Flower Bulbs

  1. Peppermint Stick Tulip, Tulipa clusiana Peppermint Stick

    'Peppermint Stick' Tulip (Tulipa clusiana) will spice up your mid-spring garden with cheerful color and form. As the blossoms of this species tulip open, the pointed petals alternate...

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    Peppermint Stick Tulip Peppermint Stick Tulip Tulipa clusiana Peppermint Stick
    Sale Price I Save 25%
    $12.99 Sale $9.74
    Per Bag of 15
    'Peppermint Stick' Tulip (Tulipa clusiana) will spice up your mid-spring garden with cheerful color and form. As the blossoms of this species tulip open, the pointed petals alternate between snow white and rosy red, uplifting spirits and adding welcome color to the garden. At 12 inches tall, they are most memorable planted in masses or along borders where their colors can mingle and delight.
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  2. Magic Carpet Bulb Collection

    Add a layer of charm to your garden with our Magic Carpet Bulb Collection. Pink and purple Wildflower Tulips and yellow and white Crocuses welcome the garden season in early spring w...

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    Magic Carpet Bulb Collection Magic Carpet Bulb Collection
    As low as $36.99 Sale $27.74
    Per Collection of 70
    Add a layer of charm to your garden with our Magic Carpet Bulb Collection. Pink and purple Wildflower Tulips and yellow and white Crocuses welcome the garden season in early spring with warm, bright colors. Flowers naturalize over time, multiplying each season to form beautiful carpets of color. Plant in flower beds or lawns as an essential early season food source for pollinators. Collection of 70 or 210 bulbs.
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  3. Spring Is In The Air Bulb Collection

    Our Spring Is In The Air Bulb Collection blooms in a kaleidoscope of color with snowy white, dusky purple, and rich violet and red hues. Miss Saigon Hyacinths and Thalia Daffodils bl...

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    Spring Is In The Air Bulb Collection Spring Is In The Air Bulb Collection
    Sale Price I Save 25%
    $35.99 Sale $26.99
    Per Collection of 49
    Our Spring Is In The Air Bulb Collection blooms in a kaleidoscope of color with snowy white, dusky purple, and rich violet and red hues. Miss Saigon Hyacinths and Thalia Daffodils bloom in mid Spring, followed closely by Slawa Tulips in late spring and Alliums in early summer. This collection delights the senses with sweet scents in the garden, containers, and cut flower bouquets. Collection of 49 bulbs.
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  4. Portuguese Squill, Scilla peruviana

    Portuguese Squill (Scilla peruviana) delivers on spring color with plentiful clusters of tiny pure blue flowers. Easy to grow and long-blooming, Portuguese Squill bridges the season ...

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    Portuguese Squill Portuguese Squill Scilla peruviana
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    $10.99 Sale $8.24
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    Portuguese Squill (Scilla peruviana) delivers on spring color with plentiful clusters of tiny pure blue flowers. Easy to grow and long-blooming, Portuguese Squill bridges the season between late spring and early summer. Plant along the front of a border, in a container, or in a rock garden where the bright blue color can shine. Portuguese Squill will naturalize readily, spreading for more flowers each season.
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  5. 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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    $8.99 Sale $6.74
    Per Bag of 30
    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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  6. 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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    $11.99 Sale $8.99
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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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  7. White Daffodil Bulbs, Thalia Daffodil,  with White Hyacinth

    Thalia Daffodil Bulbs (Narcissus triandrus Thalia) is a fragrant, multiflowered daffodil with up to 5 pure white flowers per plant. Heirloom variety....

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    Thalia Daffodil Thalia Daffodil Narcissus triandrus Thalia
    Sale Price I Save 25%
    $10.99 Sale $8.24
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    Thalia Daffodil Bulbs (Narcissus triandrus Thalia) is a fragrant, multiflowered daffodil with up to 5 pure white flowers per plant. Heirloom variety.
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  8. Muscari aucheri Dark Eyes, Grape Hyacinth

    An outstanding Muscari with fragrant, white edged, deep blue flowers. 'Dark Eyes' is a vigorous naturalizing variety that covers the garden with carpets of gorgeous flowers....

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    Sale Price I Save 25%
    $11.99 Sale $8.99
    Per Bag of 15
    An outstanding Muscari with fragrant, white edged, deep blue flowers. 'Dark Eyes' is a vigorous naturalizing variety that covers the garden with carpets of gorgeous flowers.
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