Monty Don shares his spring 'bulb lasagne' tip perfect for small gardens

By layering spring bulbs in the same pot you can save lots of space and enjoy a series of colorful blooms

a bright display of tulips in several pots
(Image credit: Alamy)

Now is a great time to make gardening plans for the spring to keep us going through the colder weather. Planting spring bulbs is a brilliant thing to do, as we tend to forget about them until they burst up with their vibrant color.

Monty Don has shared his expert tips for planting flower bulbs this time of year - including what he calls a 'bulb lasagne'.

container of vibrant purple tulips

(Image credit: Alamy)

'It’s very much bulb planting season and as well of planting bulbs in the ground, you can grow them really well in pots,' says Monty. He says that when bringing his own container gardening ideas to life, he tries grow as many bulbs as he has pots.

'You can also fill individual pots with layers of bulbs,' the presenter explains. 'This is great either if you have a pot or pots that you absolutely love or just a tiny space and you want to maximize the color in the space you’ve got.'

For his spring bulbs, Monty Don uses a pot with really wide top, which makes it ideal for being filled with lots of flowers. He chooses to plant purple Negrita tulips, daffodils and dwarf iris - but you can experiment with your own combination.

Monty Don

(Image credit: Alamy)

Before he begins, he covers the drainage hole with a piece of broken terracotta to stop the compost from falling out. 'Now, all these bulbs like free-draining compost - so whatever compost you use, mix it with either perlite or grit,' Monty says. 

'I’ve also added leaf mould because bulbs do really well in leaf mould.' He lays the first layer of compost and adds tulip bulbs an inch or two apart, pointy side up.

The gardening guru says to look out for nice big plump bulbs when buying tulip bulbs as these will flower best. 'That is our late April display, we cover that up with a layer of compost and the next layer is going to be daffodils,' says Monty.


(Image credit: Alamy)

Monty Don opts for some Tête-à-Tête, a petite and elegant daffodil. He says that even though you're layering bulbs on top of each other, they will 'negotiate a passage,' so don't worry about blocking the route of the tulips below.

Next, Monty sprinkles another layer of compost over the daffodil bulbs, and puts an iris on top. 'These are dwarf iris with intense colors and they just shine like jewels. Very early in the season, these will flower certainly in February and perhaps last into March which, of course, is when Tete-a-Tete will come through. 

Leave the bulbs in reasonably sheltered, sunny spot until the shoots begin to appear. Then put them wherever you want to display them. We love this small garden idea, as once you've planted it all up it's like a gift that keeps on giving.

Millie joined Real Homes in early 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.