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How to plant a bulb

by dig the dirt editor

Spring's lush scenes of stately tulips and sunny daffodils get their start this fall, when bulbs are snuggled into planting beds for a long winter's nap. Best of all, planting bulbs is really one of gardening's easiest, most sure-to-succeed chores. So roll up your sleeves, grab your trowel, and get planting!


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the bulb hub





STEP 1:  Dig a hole

  • You want to bury your bulbs in soil to a depth that is roughly three times the height of the bulb.
  • Little bulbs, like crocus, rest beneath a shallow covering of soil. Bigger bulbs, like daffodils or alliums, need to go deeper.
  • If your soil is loose, a trowel will work well for digging planting holes. You can also use a dibber (for small bulbs like grape hyacinth or scilla) or a bulb planter. 
  • If you live in a cold climate, plant your bulbs before the soil freezes.


STEP 2: Don't forget to fertilize


  • It's important to give bulbs a boost of food at planting time.
  • Mix bonemeal or a bulb booster fertilizer into the soil in the base of the planting hole. This fertilizer will stimulate root growth.



STEP 3: Tuck bulbs into soil.


  • Arrange bulbs in the planting hole with the root-end down and the shoot-end up. The end that's a little more pointy goes up.
  • When planting bulbs, arrange them in odd-numbered clusters to create little drifts of color in the garden. It's best to avoid planting bulbs in soldier-straight lines. 



STEP 4. Water and mulch.


  • After the bulbs are in place, push soil over their tips, tamping down lightly.
  • Water well.
  •  Apply a light layer of mulch to keep the bulbs from being pushed up and out of the soil as it freezes and thaws during winter warm-ups.
  • Add a plant marker so you won't forget where you planted the bulbs.




If shoots emerge this fall, don't panic. When freezing temperatures arrive, the shoots will die. New shoots and flowers will emerge in spring.


how to plant a bulb, Bulbs, planting in the spring fall