Layering bulbs in pots

(21 Posts)
Lorelei76 Sun 18-Sep-16 11:09:36

A couple of posters have mentioned layering bulbs
I haven't planted my crocus or narcissi bulbs yet
Would layering make sense in a pot about 12 inches deep? In my case it would save the whole thing of having to keep empty pots somewhere in the flat, as the balcony is small.

If I was going to try this experiment - just with one pot - what summer flower would work, that's available to buy at the moment? I like fritillary, saw it suggested for alliums but not keen on the smell of those.

I'd only do this in one pot in case it goes wrong, I wouldn't put all the bulbs in there but it would be interesting to try with a small amount. Thanks.

Lorelei76 Mon 19-Sep-16 11:43:15

bump

handslikecowstits Mon 19-Sep-16 19:17:05

Now is the time to plant spring flowering bulbs - daffodils, crocuses etc and alliums which are late spring early summer flowering.

12 inches should be OK. You should plant the biggest bulbs the deepest: daffs for example should be planted 10-15cm deep. Crocuses 5cm deep. Fritillaries like damp soil whereas most bulbs like free draining, so add lots of grit to the soil.

MyNightWithMaud Mon 19-Sep-16 20:43:37

Hmm. I'm always disappointed in layered bulbs, because they tend to flower sequentially rather than together - which of course might well be the point (and anyway might be different if I used different combinations of bulbs).

I have a vague memory of having recently - probably in The Garden or GW magazine - seen fritillary used as the focal point of a pot. How about one of the dark muscari underneath it? Some purple tulips?

takesnoprisoners Mon 19-Sep-16 20:56:43

Just follow whats handslike said. We always have a couple of pots going and planting pansies on top gives you some colour in the winter as well.

sentia Mon 19-Sep-16 20:59:06

Yes I've done this but I find in pots the result is a bit disappointing. I think they all get a bit over-crowded.

Lorelei76 Mon 19-Sep-16 21:03:38

Thank you all
It's so confusing
First thing I read said don't put bulbs together in a pot as it often leads to a poor display, especially if you're a beginner (sadly I can't recall the source of that one)

I've got rockery minnow narcissi and crocus bulbs, only 20 of each
Is it worth trying those together, according to where you look the narcissi will flower at the same time so I guess not?

Maud, yes, the flowering ar different times is good for me because there won't be empty pots sitting on the balcony, I haven't got anywhere to keep the "empty" ones

I should have taken advantage of one of those offers on buying 100 bulbs for £8 etc that were doing the rounds because if I decide to add a layering pot by way of an experiment I will end up buying quite a few more!

So much to learn. Also re putting pansies on top, when they die off completely, what would I do with the remaining straggly greenery, should I remove it?

Thanks again. Good to know I have the right size pot and probably fritillary not ideal if it prefers damp soil to the others. I'll not get to planting till this weekend so I'll have a think about whether I want to spend more or do the multi layer experiment with what I have already. I have already potted up some snowdrops so unless I'm prepared to not sit on the balcony at all over autumn, I will have to make a decision without buying too many bulbs.

Sorry that was long and boring!!

takesnoprisoners Mon 19-Sep-16 21:08:39

Monty Don

takesnoprisoners Mon 19-Sep-16 21:10:13

OP, the Pansies stayed on until everything else was gone. So we trimmed it off and they have come back to life last week. I wish I could explain more 'technically' smile

Lorelei76 Mon 19-Sep-16 21:32:27

Takes, thanks
You mean winter pansies flowered again after the spring flowers had finished?

I'm with Maud on this - I think there's a big difference between bulbs that flower all together, which look spectacular for a short time, and bulbs that flower sequentially through the season, where the display is not quite as good at any one point, but you get interest for longer.

I don't really see the point of the sequential sowing, because you could just do 4 separate pots with companion plants, and have 4 brilliant displays that you wheel out and in when the time comes.

I also find the bulbs in a bulb lasagne tend to be so tightly packed that they are in fierce competition and can fade and dry out really easily too. However, if you're prepared to fuss it a bit (and to continue fussing it after flowering, when it'll need lots of food and possibly planting out in the garden), choosing the right kind of spring bulbs CAN mean that they all flower together. However, this means doing some research. If you want snowdrops, crocus and daffs all together, you're going to want a later season snowdrop, a mid-season crocus, and an early daff. Choose a January snowdrop, a March crocus and a late April daff and you are not going to get the same effect!!

A lot of people don't realise that spring bulbs have the most enormous range. Daffs can be out any time from December (Cedric Morris) to May (Hawera). Every garden should have early, mid and late season varieties, because they shine out like the sun even on the dreariest days!

PinkSwimGoggles Tue 20-Sep-16 08:13:09

you idea sounds great.
I have tulips, daffs and crocus is tomato (5l) pots.
if you have lots of squirrels in the area you need to put net on top, or the buggers will dig up all your hard work.

Lorelei76 Tue 20-Sep-16 10:54:42

shove "I don't really see the point of the sequential sowing, because you could just do 4 separate pots with companion plants, and have 4 brilliant displays that you wheel out and in when the time comes. "

ah but it's good for people like me who don't have the room for the 4 pots initially.

Lorelei76 Tue 20-Sep-16 10:56:56

Pink "I have tulips, daffs and crocus is tomato (5l) pots."

I might try this with the narcissi as I already have them... I will have to check the flowering months, though I expect with the added factor of a balcony being sheltered, it might be complicated.

Lorelei76 Tue 20-Sep-16 10:59:48

shove "
I also find the bulbs in a bulb lasagne tend to be so tightly packed that they are in fierce competition and can fade and dry out really easily too. However, if you're prepared to fuss it a bit (and to continue fussing it after flowering, when it'll need lots of food and possibly planting out in the garden), choosing the right kind of spring bulbs CAN mean that they all flower together. "

I should add, another reason why I'm pondering this so much is that mine won't go out in a garden because I don't have one. From everything I can find, it seems best to treat the balcony pots as something that needs to be done each year, so as the cost will happen each year, I have to factor that in too, and the compost from the pots will be pretty spent as well so new compost needed each time.

Next year I will def have to nab one of those multi buy offers and then it won't matter so much if any experiments go wrong!

JaneAustinAllegro Tue 20-Sep-16 11:01:02

have a look on the Sarah Raven website for lasagne planting! she also does trays where you can lift ou tteh bulbs post planting.
There's a piece in (i think?) the Telegraph this week about planting bulbs in clumps in pots, rather than spirals so that you get bold splashes of colour, however the pot they used to illustrate the principle was a dirty great wide wok of a pot - a 2ft diameter shallow thing!

NotAnEMERGENCY Tue 20-Sep-16 11:42:43

When is the latest one can plant spring flowering bulbs? My new flower bed isn't ready yet and I'd rather plant straight into the bed than into containers.

Oooh, this is a tricky one because you're trading off space against longevity!! I can see your thinking more now and I reckon your approach is a good 'in.

If you keep them watered and feed, you might get a couple of years out of them (so much of my thinking about bulbs kind of assumes slightly neglected pots!) Also, the discounters are now selling bulbs so cheaply!! Sometimes I think I forget and assume they are more expensive than they are.

You could always guerilla garden a blank space near you when replacing!! grin

Lorelei76 Tue 20-Sep-16 13:25:16

NotAnEmergency - I am new to this but I thought as long as I did by end Oct it should be okay?

Shove - not sure who is selling bulbs cheaply but I might have the wrong idea re cheap!

I am fine to keep them well looked after in terms of feeding and watering. With only a few plants to fuss over I'm actually quite disappointed if I get back from work and nothing needs doing because I find it therapeutic to do something planty!

But if I want summer flowering pots, when the spring ones are done I will need to empty those pots to fill them with the summer flowers, there's nowhere for them to live in the meantime, so even if they would reflower I have to miss out on that.

Sorry I don't even know what your last sentence means?

Lorelei76 Tue 20-Sep-16 13:25:57

PS I do know Aldi and Morrisons have been doing them cheap but I have both of those near me and they don't have any. Possibly they ran out within a day or so of stocking them.

Aldi had stacks last week. They often put them by the door. I think lidl also have some in. They do get more stock to replenish so keep your eye out. I got packs of 10 snowdrops for £1.79.

Guerilla gardening is when you green up public space that you don't own. You find an unloved verge near you (NOT a wild area, where this does damage, but one of those scratty bits of poor monoculture turf by roadsides) and plant it up. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla_gardening

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