Plants - Flower Bulbs

Bulb strategies for continuous spring blooms

Karen York
Photography by
Cybèle Young

From gardens to pots to the front lawn, try these techniques for a colourful show

Planting bulbs in layers
Maximize the space, extend bloom time and make more intricate designs by planting layers of different bulbs. Use bigger ones, such as daffodils or tulips, in the bottom layer and smaller ones on top of them, planting each at the correct depth (three to four times deeper than the height of the bulb). Consecutive bloomers will give colour for longer, while concurrent bloomers allow for complex combinations. Stick to two or three kinds of bulbs; any more will be overcrowded and leave a mass of dying foliage to contend with.

Try layering bulbs in the garden or in a large container, which can be placed front and centre while the show is on, then moved to a discreet spot for the dying-back period. The container and potting mix must be well-draining, and the bulbs can be planted closer together but not touching the sides of the container. The major caveat is that the container must be overwintered in a shed or basement where it won’t freeze, or you can try insulating it with Styrofoam. Keep it lightly moist and bring it out with the spring sunshine. This is a one-shot affair: after blooming, transplant the bulbs to the garden where they will usually recover to flower again.


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