Lasagna Bulb-Planting Technique
Whether your backyard is a postage stamp balcony in a city
high-rise or a rolling spread of a suburban green yard, you
can enjoy the fun, fashion and creativity of a container flower
garden. Growing flowers in containers is a simple, sensible
and flexible method of decorating your outdoor living space.
Fall is the perfect time to start a container garden. Spring-flowering
bulbs such as narcissus, daffodils and anemones are easy to
grow and especially suited to growing in containers. You can
get continued use from container flower gardens in the spring
by replacing bulbs with annuals. When planning a container garden,
first consider the site. What scale will complement the area?
Will your area look best with large containers, clusters of
small containers or a mix?
Interesting containers such as traditional pots and planters
and whiskey barrels can be used. Some great choices include
an old wheelbarrow, a retired automobile tire, old bath tub,
toy wagon, milk crates, old fixtures-even old Volkswagen bug
convertibles have popped up as "containers."
When choosing a container, remember that, like potted plants
indoors, outdoor containers must have drainage holes for water
to run out. This prevents root rot. If you can't bring yourself
to or it would be too difficult to drill a hole in a special
container, you should consider planting in smaller pots that
would fit inside. These must themselves have drainage holes
and be elevated within the larger container so water can drain.
(This drainage water should be removed periodically).
To begin your container garden this fall, you should choose
specific bulbs. Characteristics such as: blooming period, color,
height, and fragrance should be considered. For example, early-flowering
ranunculus and anemones offer a choice for planting in containers
along walkways and at entrances. Later?flowering daffodils are
One easy planting technique especially suited to container gardens
is the "Lasagna" technique. The idea is similar to
making a lasagna. Plant a layer of tall?growing bulbs such as
narcissus, daffodils and snowflakes six inches deep in the container.
Cover with two inches of soil, add a second layer of bulbs such
as hyacinths and Dutch iris, cover with another two inches of
soil, and add the final layer of small bulbs such as Ranunculus,
anemones and grape hyacinths. Finally, add an inch of soil followed
by an inch of mulch. Top off the Lasagna planting with a plant
cover of annuals such as pansies, dianthus, bluebonnets plus
mulch. Water well.
In spring, the results are stunning: a container of beautiful
narcissus and Dutch iris above a lush multicolored carpet of
flowers from smaller bulbs. You should remember to remove old
blooms from one group of bulbs as other layers display their
blooms to insure a neat, tidy container appearance.
Aside from good drainage, another consideration for spring?flowering
bulbs is temperature. Bulbs need a minimum 15?week cold period,
but they mustn't freeze. Bulbs in containers are more susceptible
to extremes of cold than those in the ground. Be prepared to
move small containers to a sheltered area or an unheated garage
or shed to protect them from unusually hard freezes (below 20
degrees F.). Large containers (the larger the better for cold
protection!) can be wrapped or padded.
Be sure to water planted bulbs throughout the winter. If you
have planted cold?hardy, flowering annuals such as pansies and
dianthus on top of the Lasagna planting, adequate watering and
fertilization of these plants will suffice for the bulbs planted
When spring bulbs have faded you have several options. Container
gardens are also perfect for perennials, annuals, and summer