Layering Bulbs In Containers

Hello clever people 

I'm a tad control freaky in general and a lot control freaky when it comes to gardening- a terrible trait for a gardeny person I know but hey ho image that's just me, however, this is making me have mild palpitations about my spring/summer pots.

I want to have a go at layering bulbs, i'd like to do daffs/narcissus, tulips and hyacinths but will it work as  some of the bulbs need potting now and the tulips are meant to be potted in November (according to rhs website). Shall I just give it a whirl? Have any of you done this combo and had success? 

Also while I'm here and I've got youimage I've just weeded the small border on the street side of our fence and was going to fill it up with more tulips and hyacinths but my mum said to be prepared for people to pick them image which would obviously infuriate me so should I risk it or just fill it up with daffs? Any other pretty alternatives would be great. 

Sorry for the waffling and many thanks.

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Posts

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,561

    I think the main reason for planting tulips late is to avoid some diseases that can affect them (and not the other spring bulbs) which are generally killed off by frost. If you are planting in clean bulb compost in pots, there's little risk from planting them earlier, as long as you have plenty of drainage so the dormant bulbs don't rot - tulips will be the bottom layer and the last to 'break' dormancy so most likely to rot if it's too wet.

    Tulips are difficult to get to regrow year to year unless you have very free draining soil, and they are comparatively expensive, so no, I wouldn't buy tulip bulbs and put them in a public place where people might well pick them and you may never see them again. The only exception may be species tulips which are a) more persistent (i.e. more likely to appear next year) and b) much shorter stemmed on the whole so less pickable (made up word image ). Personally I'd go for a mix of primroses and crocus - short, cheap and readily multiplying as well as very pretty and nice and early in the year when you'll be glad of the welcome as you come home image.

    I generally have a few tulips in pots each year and I like to change the colour scheme every year so buy just a small number as my 'treat'. Rather than throw them away after they flower though, I plant them out in the garden with some advice about it being up to them if they live or not. Usually they go for not, except Queen of the Night which have made several appearances. You could do the same - plant last year's tulips outside the fence and if they come up at all it's a bonus so less annoying if some oik nicks them 

    It's hard to love, there's so much to hate
    Hanging on to hope when there is no hope to speak of
  • MrsFoxgloveMrsFoxglove SurreyPosts: 180

    Thank you so much raisingirl image

    That's really helped me, I'm super excited now I don't have to wait till November image 

    Lovely suggestion about the crocus and primrose too and great idea with the tulip bulbs being planted out for the following year.

    Now all I have to worry about is hoping that the bulbs don't get water rotimage

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,561

    image, crocks in the bottom, mix grit in, especially in the layer that goes right at the base under the tulips and put 'feet' or bricks or something under the pots to lift them off the ground.

    I usually plant up all my spring pots in late September or early October as the summer plants go over. I don't have spare pots to allow overlaps. This year I have dahlias in my 'door' pots (big ones either side of the front door) so that timing will be about right.

    But getting slightly ahead of myself I have just planted up a deep plastic pot with scented narcissus (bottom), reticulata iris (middle) and crocuses (top) with chicken wire fixed over the top (I have a problem with mice and rats digging bulbs up in winter). I'll leave those in the plastic pot, put the plastic pot into one of the ceramic pots in a few weeks and bury it so the wire is just below the surface. Then plant something - heuchera most likely - that will give some colour through the winter, into the compost around the outside of the plastic pot. It's a new strategy to try to defeat the rodents, so we'll see if it works. If it does, I can just leave all those bulbs in the plastic pot, lift it out when the bulbs are dying back and pot up something else for the summer. Then next year, assuming I don't change my mind about the colour scheme, I can just wang it back in the pot in autumn and spend my time musing over tulip colours image

    It's hard to love, there's so much to hate
    Hanging on to hope when there is no hope to speak of
  • MrsFoxgloveMrsFoxglove SurreyPosts: 180

    Oh I love your strategy, it's like a full time job all this gardening malarkyimage I was out there at 8 this morning weeding and giving myself a migraine over bulb choices ha ha 

    You sound like a pro, I'm relatively new to it all.

    Have been dabbling for about 3 years now but this year I decided to get a bit more serious- I have a gardening folder and everything nowimage mostly so I can keep an eye on everything I've planted and how I'm supposed to care for it throughout the seasons etc

    I have nearly everything in pots apart from my Wisteria and clematis and a rambling rose as I found I was just spending hundreds of pounds trying to keep a border filled up all the time image so decided to throw down some Cotswold buff stones and buy loads of pretty pots instead and just maintain those. I've just started to experiment with cuttings in a little propagator too- so far so good.

    What tulip colours are you going for? 

    I'd like all lilacs & whites image

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 25,872

    I don't like the whole layering thing as I don't think you ever get a good dispaly from anything, but having said that - I'd leave the tulips and have them in separate pots if you want to grow them. As r'girl says, they don't tend to return year on year - you get a couple of years or so from them, so it can be a nuisance if you then have to take them out. Some are more reliable than others, but  it's only the red and yellow Apeldoorns which return, or the species tulips which are quite different. Many people treatthem as annuals and plant fresh every year.

    The reticulata Irises are the same - they tend to diminish after a few years. There are plenty of narcissus of varying sizes, and flowering times, which you could layer up though - as well as the usual crocus and grape hyacinths if you like purples/lilacs. 

    I also use plastic pot inserts for bulbs, as well as other planting, to give succession. It's the easiest way to get impact. 

    If you like purples and whites, there are plenty of tulips to choose from, and I'd recommened you use a good online supplier like Peter Nyssen for them. If you choose carefully, you can get a longer season of colour by picking different types with different flowering times too.

    Normal advice is to plant tulips later (November)  when it's colder to avoid tulip virus, but we can plant quite early up here without issue. September/October. You could experiment to see what works for you image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • MrsFoxgloveMrsFoxglove SurreyPosts: 180

    Thanks Fairygirlimage

    I'll definitely give the layering a bash and see how it pans out.

    I'll checkout Peter Nyssen too.

    I'm off to Wisely today so am hoping to get a few special bulbs there tooimage

  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,236

    Maybe I'm just not very good at it but I find with bulb layering there is a constant display of stuff going over. image 

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,561
    MrsFoxglove says:

    What tulip colours are you going for? 

    I'd like all lilacs & whites image

    See original post

    I went for black (almost) and white a couple of years ago - Queen of the Night and white parrot. Very dramatic image. Last year was single type bold orangey red - Ad Rem. This year I'm going softer lilac and bronze - based around 'Belle Epoque'.

    Have fun at Wisley image. Watch out for the shop, things just jump into your basket as you go by - terrible image 

    Last edited: 22 August 2017 09:04:45

    It's hard to love, there's so much to hate
    Hanging on to hope when there is no hope to speak of
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 25,872
    plant pauper says:

    Maybe I'm just not very good at it but I find with bulb layering there is a constant display of stuff going over. image 

    See original post

     That's partly the reason I don't do it either ppauper. You need a lot of plants, and some very careful decisions for it to really succeed   image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,236

    image FG

    Must try harder. Story of my life. image

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