How to Plant Flowering Bulbs: A 3-Step Guide

Flowering bulbs are a great way to add beauty and visual interest to your yard and flower garden. Here’s a quick guide to planting bulbs, including how, when, and where.

Bulbs are one of my favorite landscaping plants! Not only is there a nearly infinite variety of flower types, shapes, and colors, but most flowering bulbs require little maintenance for several years once established.

You may think of bulbs as something that you should plant in the fall, but in fact, some types of bulbs should be planted in the spring, and some in the summer as well.

If you want to add some beautiful showy flowers to your garden this spring to shake off the winter doldrums, flowering bulbs are a great way to do it. Here are a few tips from Capital Gardening Services for planting flower bulbs around your yard and garden.

1. Know when to plant.

Autumn● Plant spring-flowering bulbs, such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinths, preferably by the end of September
● Plant tulips in November
● Plant hardy summer-flowering bulbs, such as lilies, alliums and crocosmia, in September and October
SpringPlant tender summer-flowering bulbs, including gladioli, in early spring
SummerPlant autumn-flowering bulbs, such as nerines, by late summer

2. Dig the hole where you want the bulbs to go.

After preparing your soil in a well-drained location with some compost to encourage healthy growth, it’s time to plant your bulbs. Not all bulbs are the same size, so they won’t all be planted at the same depth. A good rule of thumb is to plant a bulb three times as deep as its height. It’s important to note thought that this guideline will vary depending on your soil type. You can also refer to the guidelines on the bulb packaging (if there is some).

Sandy soils: plant a little deeper.

Heavy clay soils: plant a little shallower.

This aspect of how you plant bulbs is important because if they are planted too shallow, the bulbs may come above the soil surface too early and as a result get damaged by poor weather conditions but then in contrast if they are planted too deep they’ll take longer to emerge.

Roots grow out of the bottom of bulbs, so the quality of the soil underneath the bulb is more important than what you fill the hole with. If you’re amending the soil with compost, dig slightly deeper holes so you can accommodate the compost addition. Don’t let the bulbs touch one another when you plant them in the ground; the general rule is at least three bulb-widths apart – from the center of one bulb to the center of the next.

3. Fill in with soil and water.

As you place soil back into the hole, firmly press it in place to prevent air pockets but don’t pack the area too tightly. Add water and add more soil as needed. Stick a laminated card (or homemade label) into the ground to indicate where you’ve planted which bulbs.


Rose S.

An avid gardener since childhood, I love sharing my passion for gardening with others! I have gardened in a number of different climates and settings, from large fenced garden plots, to tiny patio and container gardens, and I firmly believe that everyone can learn to grow at least some of their own food - no matter where you live. Growing your own food can help you take control of your own health and food supply, and there has never been a better time to get started!

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