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Growing a full, thriving garden takes some creative planning. You need to decide what grows best in your soil, what sort of plants can be grown together, color combinations that complement each other, and much more. However, while planning a gardening scheme feels overwhelming at first, it’s one of those things that is always well worth it in the end.


One of our favorite things to plant in the garden is bulbs. Planting bulbs is a great way to take out a lot of the guesswork and grow stunning flowers with minimal effort. We especially recommend a method called succession bulb planting, which helps keep your garden bursting with color all season long.


spring blooming bulbs Meyer Landscape

What is Succession Bulb Planting?

The term succession bulb planting refers to a method of planting where you choose specific bulbs that bloom at different times. Different types of bulbs fall under three categories: early blooms, mid blooms, and late blooms. By planting an assortment of bulbs from all categories, your garden will yield fresh blooms all season long or in “succession.”


When choosing your bulbs, there are two main details you need to take into consideration: the bloom time and the height the plant reaches. Generally, plant lower-growing bulbs in front of higher-growing bulbs so they aren’t obstructed. Of course, if the low bulbs bloom early and the high bulbs late, plant the high bulbs in front. When the low bulbs bloom and start to die back, the high bulbs will hide their dying foliage. Fortunately, each bulb package has labels with all these details, so it’s easy to plan out succession planting beforehand.


Some of the best bulbs to use for succession planting are tulips, hyacinth, daffodils, gladiolus, allium, and iris. Tulips and daffodils are particularly favored because of their numerous varieties, some of which fall under all three bloom-time categories.

The beauty of succession bulb planting is learning to plan a garden with a color scheme, texture, and continuous growth.

woman planting fall bulbs Meyer Landscape

The Lasagna Layer Method

When succession bulb planting, a method to use is called “lasagna layering,” and it’s exactly how it sounds. Like making a lasagna, each set of bulbs will have its layer within the soil. There are typically three layers: the deepest layer for late blooms, mid-layer for mid blooms, and top layer for early blooms. Always refer to the label on your bulbs’ packaging, but for succession planting, you generally plant bulbs three times its height deep and three times its width apart, so they have plenty of room to grow.


Once you plant the first layer, add a layer of soil at least two inches thick before starting your second layer. It’s best not to plant bulbs directly on top of each other to ensure their roots won’t be crowded. Repeat the process for the top layer, and water deeply. Succession planting and lasagna layering tend to go hand in hand; after all, your bulbs are sharing the same soil and, therefore, the same nutrients. When properly layered, you don’t need to worry about your plants competing for nutrients or sunlight after they bloom. Instead, each layer has its turn to shine, and you get the rewarding satisfaction of continuous growth and color in your garden all season long.


Don’t forget to have fun planning your garden! The beauty of succession bulb planting is learning to plan a garden with a color scheme, texture, and continuous growth. In other words, there’s no wrong way to do it. If you have lingering questions, stop at our garden center, where we specialize in landscape and design. Our knowledgeable staff can walk you through the process of succession bulb planting and help you choose the right bulbs for your garden.


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