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A bulb lasagne is simply layers of flower bulbs between layers of compost.  The reason for doing this is to greatly increase the season of interest.  For example, you could plant tulips on their own.  This, though undoubtedly beautiful, would only provide weeks of colour.  By planting layers of bulbs that come into flower in succession, we can provide not weeks but months of interest.  This method is usually used in containers, but works equally well in beds and borders.The largest and latest flowering bulbs are used at the bottom, with layers of earlier flowering bulbs above.

Bulbs hate to sit in the winter wet, so the pot you choose must have a drainage hole.  Choose a pot at least 30cm (12in) in diameter.  Also choose a free-draining compost.  You may wish to add grit to the compost to aid drainage. Aim to plant each bulb at approximately three times their own depth and allow one bulb width between each.


  1. Place some broken pieces of  clay pot over the hole in the pot, if it is a large hole, to stop the compost from falling out.
  2. Put a generous layer of compost into the bottom of the pot. Place the largest bulbs on top of this layer of compost with the shoot facing upwards.  If you are not sure which way up the bulbs should be, do not panic too much as bulbs are clever and usually find their own way up, even if planted incorrectly. They will also find their way around the bulbs planted above!
  3. Place another layer of compost on top of the bulbs and gently firm it around them.  When the compost reaches the correct level for the next set of bulbs, add the next biggest bulbs.
  4. Add the next layer of compost and the next lot of smaller bulbs and continue in this way.
  5. When the final layer of bulbs has been added, add the final layer of compost to within a few centimetres of the top of the pot.
  6. If you dislike the fact that at first you just have something that looks like a pot full of compost, you can add bedding plants such as Pansies, Violas or Cyclamen.  The bulbs will find their way up through the bedding plants later.
  7. Water the pot in, and continue to water in the driest spells. Place the pot in a sunny location.

After all the bulbs have flowered, resist removing all the messy foliage that is left as you need to allow it to die back naturally so that the goodness in the leaves will return into the bulbs for successive seasons. Pots can be moved to a less conspicuous location.

You may wish to choose your own selection of bulbs.  If this is the case then find a good supplier from our Supplier Directory.  If you are not confident in choosing your own bulbs, then Waitrose Garden have put together collections of bulbs which can be used to make a colour coordinated bulb lasagne in your garden:-

To view the Cool Whites Collection at Waitrose Garden click here

To view the Blues and Pinks Collection at Waitrose Garden click here

To view the Red and Plum Collection (as pictured above the article) at Waitrose Garden click here

To view the Ice Whites Collection at Waitrose Garden click here

To view the Creams and Yellows Collection at Waitrose Garden click here

Mark Snelling

All images copyright Waitrose Garden






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