Without proper planning, after bulbs bloom in the garden there can be blank spaces where the flowers once grew. But there are ways around this, such as living flower arrangements. The idea is similar to “lasagna layering,” which we wrote about last month. But whereas lasagna layering is done directly in the ground, you can create living flower arrangements in containers. This method of planting your bulbs lets you make the most out of the space you have since you can plan for multiple types of bulbs in the same location.
What Bulbs Can Grow in Living Flower Arrangement Pots?
If you want color in your yard all season long, select bulbs that bloom at different times—early, mid, and late spring, for example. Alternatively, you can select bulbs that bloom around the same time but can grow in the same pot since they take nutrients from the soil at different times of the year.
Since there are just so many bulbs out there, to help you narrow down which ones to choose, try picking a theme for your container. For example, stick with shades of pink, purple, and white for a cool color palette, or go with warm shades like yellow, orange, and red.
While you can also create living flower arrangements with summer bulbs, we’re going to focus on spring-blooming bulbs since right now—fall—is the time to plant them. To see the full selection of what we carry, look through our fall-planted catalog.
Some bulbs are better suited to containers than others. Here are various bulbs that grow well in containers and bloom at different times in spring:
Early Spring Bloomers
- Muscari Venus
- Ipheion uniflorum ‘Alberto Castillo’
- Baby Boomer Daffodil
- Hyacinth orientalis ‘Fairy White’
Late Spring Bloomers
How to Create Easy Living Flower Arrangements
You’ll need a container that’s about 12” by 12”. That will be suitable for four layers of bulbs, so if you want more layers or fewer layers, you can choose a different pot accordingly. The pot should also have good drainage.
Put three inches of soil at the bottom of the container. The thickness of soil will vary depending on the size of your pot. Keep in mind the general rule is to plant bulbs three times its height deep, and four times for tulips.
The first layer at the bottom will have the tallest item, which should also be the bulb that blooms the latest in the season if you’re planning on staggered blooms.
Put three of the tallest bulbs in this first layer, centered right in the middle. The bulbs should be touching, so they’re shoulder to shoulder. Place soil around the shoulders and on the bulbs, but leave the noses of the bulbs exposed. Then it’s time to add the next layer of bulbs, which will grow to be a couple of inches shorter than the first layer. Put five of them around the first layer of bulbs. Again, cover with soil, then add the next layer of bulbs, which are even shorter than the last layer. Place seven of these then cover with soil. Typically, we plant odd numbers of bulbs in round pots, but that’s not a set rule, just a preference.
Depending on your pot size, you could keep going with additional layers.
Living Flower Arrangements Care
Now that you have your pot with multiple layers of bulbs, what do you do with it? After all, the flowers won’t bloom until spring!
Water the pot well, so the soil is thoroughly damp. Then place it in a cool spot outside. This could be on the north side of a building in the shadow (cover the pot with mulch, leaves, or bark), in a cool garage (insulate the pot, so it stays uniformly cool), or on a patio or balcony in an insulated cooler (open the cooler once a week so fresh air gets in). Water the pot about once a month to keep it damp but not wet.
When you’re in the clear of hard freezes, remove any mulch/insulation from the pot, and place it in a sunny area to continue growing, eventually resulting in beautiful blooms!
Living flower arrangements are a great way to experiment with different blooms, plus they are a great option if you’re tight on space. Once they’re actively blooming, all you have to do is make sure they have enough water and adequate light, and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful floral arrangements, ones that last much longer than any cut arrangement!
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