How do I plant spring-blooming bulbs?


How do I plant spring-blooming bulbs?


Planting Depth

Plant bulbs at a depth equal to two or three times their maximum bulb diameter. Larger bulbs like tulips, daffodils and hyacinths are often planted 6-8 inches deep. The smaller bulbs like squill, snowdrops and crocus are often planted 3 to 4 inches deep. Larger bulbs can be spaced 4-6 inches apart while a 2-3 inch spacing is more suitable for the smaller bulbs.

Bulb Orientation

Set bulbs in the ground with the pointed end up. For some bulbs or bulb-like structures it can be difficult to tell which end goes up. If no roots or buds are apparent, you can plant some bulbs on their sides. The bulb will find the sun and bloom normally with only a little extra effort.

planting bulbPlanting Techniques and Tools

Bulb planters, trowels and auger attachments for electric drills are available to assist the gardener in bulb planting. For a mass planting of bulbs, remove the soil in the entire planting area to the proper depth with a shovel. Place the bulbs in the desired arrangement or pattern and then carefully backfill with soil.

Fertilizer & Water

While not typically necessary, fertilizers like 5-10-5, Bulb Booster or Bone Meal can be incorporated into the soil at the time of planting. Bone meal is often slower acting and more expensive than the other fertilizers. These fertilizers are more important for the development of next year's bulb than they are for the upcoming spring flowers.

Water the areas after planting to help settle soil in around the bulbs and provide plenty of moisture for root growth, especially if soils are dry. Avoid overwatering as most bulbs do not tolerate wet conditions well.

Answered by
  • Specialist
  • Consumer Horticulture Extension
Last updated on
March 19, 2024