Hello again and thanks for joining in on our Grow Girl Seattle grow along! With just a little bit of effort this fall you'll have a beautiful pot full of flowers this spring. And it's time to pot them up! Below you'll find instructions as well as two videos for how to plant.
For those just joining in, welcome! I have two previous posts you can check out (Part I on ordering bulbs, and Part II on what you'll need), and now we're going to get to planting & put it all together.
I've been hearing from a lot of people that their bulbs are starting to arrive, which is great. There have been worldwide shipping delays which have caused a lot of bulbs (most of which come from the Netherlands) to be stuck in transit. If you don't have your bulbs in hand yet, don't worry - some of mine haven't come yet either. And if you didn't order any bulbs, you can head to your local nursery or Fred Meyer/equivalent to find bulbs. I will also be posting bulb kits to the website soon! I wanted to send this post out for those who are ready to plant, or are in cooler climates than me, and I will probably come back in to add more photos & videos later.
To make your lasagna, you'll need:
A clean flower pot (12"+ tall) with drainage hole(s)
Some flower bulbs
Before you plant anything, try to figure out approximately when each type of bulb you're planting will bloom. The bulb package, the website you ordered them from, or just a simple Google search will be able to tell you if it's an early, mid, or late-spring bloomer.
In general, crocus are the earliest bloomers (usually blooming in mid-late February here in Seattle), followed by daffodils and grape hyacinth (usually blooming in March/April in Seattle), followed by tulips (usually blooming in April/May in Seattle). I know many of you are not in Seattle, but the same general blooming order holds true. However, just to confuse you, certain species may bloom outside of that general rule of thumb! For example, there are some late daffodils and some early tulips.
Plan to put the type that will bloom latest on the bottom layer, and the type that will bloom earliest on the top layer of your bulb lasagna. If all of the bulbs you're using bloom around the same time, it doesn't really matter which layer you put where. Just note that crocus and grape hyacinth should be planted shallower than tulips & daffodils, so if using crocus or grape hyacinth - put them on the top layer.
For simplicity I'm putting these instructions together using tulips for the bottom layer, daffodils for the middle layer, and crocus or grape hyacinth for the top layer. If you're using something else, use the same instructions but just adjust based on what you have and when they bloom.
Fill a clean 12-inch tall pot with about 5 inches of potting soil, so that the bottom layer of bulbs will be planted about 7 inches deep.
Place the tulip bulbs in, keeping about 1-2 inches of space between each bulb. I like to place in a circle, and then put one or two in the middle. Note: the pointy end is the top of the bulb and should be facing upwards.
Add soil - about 2 inches - so that the tulip bulbs are covered.
Place the daffodil bulbs in, with about 1-2 inches of space between each bulb. If you can, try not to place daffodil bulbs directly above/touching the tulip bulbs - if you push down slightly when you place the daffodil and feel a tulip tip directly underneath it, shift slightly so the tulips can grow straight up between two daffodil bulbs instead of straight into a daffodil bulb. The tulips will wind up around the daffodil bulbs though, so don't worry if it's not perfect. Again, I like to start by placing the daffodil bulbs in a circle and then one or two in the middle.
Add soil - about 2 inches - so that the daffodil bulbs are covered.
Place the crocus or grape hyacinth bulbs in. I like to place these in a circle around the outer rim of the pot, without any placed in the middle. This makes for a nice clean border appearance to contain the middle layer when it starts blooming, and gives the lower bulbs a clear shot up to the soil surface.
Add soil - about 3 inches - up to the top of the pot.
Water your bulbs in with a hose with spray nozzle (on shower setting), or with a watering can. This will help get any air bubbles or air pockets out.
For me, videos really help, so here are two that I made. The first is from September, that I also posted to my IGTV, so you may have already seen it.
I made this second video tonight just before it got dark, so it's not the best footage. The wind is also whipping outside! But I wanted to show an in-pot view.
Again, I will probably update this post with more photos & videos when I get the rest of my bulbs in and have time to take a better quality video! But wanted to get everyone started.
A few people have asked some questions I wanted to answer. Feel free to leave more questions in the comments or message me. And don't forget to use the hashtag #ggsbulblasagna if you post your creation on Instagram so we can all see!
What do I do with my pot after it's planted? In Seattle, I keep mine outside, stored in between my garden beds or against a fence until some green leaves & stems break through the soil surface - then I put them on my front steps with full sun. Honestly there's not much to look at until something starts to grow, which is why i wait to put them on my steps. You want the pots to drain well, so don't keep them anywhere where puddles form. If you live somewhere colder than Seattle (we're Zone 8b here), you may want to add a mulch layer to the top for some added warmth, and/or keep up against your house where it will be slightly warmer than other areas of your yard. If you know you're going to get a big cold snap, you can put a tarp over the pot(s) for added protection. You can also store in an unheated garage or shed.
Can I make bulb lasagna layers in a garden bed instead of a pot? Yes! If you're planning to leave the bulbs in the ground year after year, leave a little more space than you would in the pots. The daffodils will multiply, so they need a few inches between each bulb. Note that whether in pots or in the ground, tulips don't really perennialize unless they're the Darwin hybrids or a few other types of tulip.
Can I use a bigger pot? Yes of course! You'll need more bulbs. If it's deeper than 12 inches, just use depth from the top in the instructions above. So still plant your layers 7, 5, and 3 inches deep from the top of the pot.
Can I do two layers instead of three? Of course! In the second video I only plant two layers - tulips and daffodils. You can of course just plant one layer as well. The idea with the lasagna is that it prolongs the bloom in the pot, or puts on a colorful show, but I also love the classic look of one type of flower per pot!
Can I plant four layers instead of three? Yes! But use a bigger pot and leave a little more room between bulbs to ensure all the growth can make it to the top.
When they bloom, can I cut the flowers to bring inside? Absolutely. Note that daffodils emit a sticky sap into the water that kills other flowers though, so you'll need to "condition" them on their own. When we get closer to bloom time in spring, I'll do another post about cut flowers.
Will these pots bloom year after year? If the bulbs you purchased are "perennial" it means they will come back year after year. Tulips generally bloom beautifully the first year, then get shorter and shorter each following year. There are a few types of tulips that do perennialize, but if you didn't buy those, the show might not be as good next year. I typically plant new pots each year to get the best show, and/or plant some pots with only perennial varieties that I know will come back reliably.