To get long lasting spring flower displays you need to try layering bulbs in what is called a ‘ bulb lasagne.’ This is when you layer them up one on top of another. It starts with the largest and latest flowering bulbs like tulips which go in deepest, moving to medium ones like daffodils (narcissus). The smallest and earliest flowering bulbs eg. crocus, snowdrops, iris, grape hyacinths, scillas, puschkinias, chinodoxas and anemones can go in the top layer. The emergent shoots of the lower layer bulbs just bend magically round anything they hit sitting over their heads and keep on growing. Isn’t nature wonderful!
With this technique you need to plant the bulbs slightly further apart than you would in a pot with a single layer, so 5-10cm apart is the right sort of spacing. The first layer can go as deep as 30-40cm deep. Typically in pots, you can plant your bulbs closer than you do in the garden but they shouldn’t touch each other or the sides of the pot.
Then cover them over with a couple of inches of potting compost, before you place the next layer of bulbs. I tend to dress the top of the pot with grit – this will prevent mice or squirrels trying to dig up the bulbs during the winter months.
Drainage is key with bulbs, so make sure all your pots and containers have more than one hole in the bottom. Keep them watered after planting, and regularly in the first weeks when their roots are forming. Don’t let the compost dry out.