How to Plant Spring Bulbs

Plant spring-blooming bulbs in fall for beautiful spring color. Here's how!

In the fall, gardeners are already thinking about their springtime gardens! With these bulb-planting tips, you'll have the most beautiful garden come spring.

Bulbs are the closest thing you can get to guaranteed color. Some spring bulbs we love include tulip, allium, lily, iris, and hyacinth. If you plant naturalizing bulbs (which are bulbs that come back every year such as daffodils, crocus, and grape hyacinth), plant them to get plenty of sun. That way, they'll return stronger each and every spring. With these simple steps on how to plant your spring-flowering bulbs, you'll have a bountiful bulb garden next spring.

Planting Single Bulbs

Use a hand trowel to dig a hole the appropriate depth for your bulbs. A good rule of thumb is that bulbs should be planted three times as deep as the bulb is tall. For example, if a bulb is 3 inches tall, dig the hole 9 inches deep. For a more precise measurement, use measuring tape when digging your hole. Once you've dug your hole, place the bulb in pointy side up, with the roots facing down. Smaller bulbs—like grape hyacinth, squill, and glory-of-the-snow—aren't as picky; they'll still find their way to the surface once they start growing. Fill the hole to cover the bulb, then water to get them growing.

Editor's Tip: Always refer to the bulb package when determining plant depth to make sure you're planting properly.

Planting Multiple Bulbs

Use a spading fork to till up the entire soil bed in your desired gardening area. Loose, freshly-tilled soil, will make it easy to plant your bulbs. After tilling up your soil, lay out your bulbs. Make sure to scatter them out at least 4 inches apart from one another. Dig a hole where the bulbs are sitting in the soil. Plant the bulbs similarly to how you would if you were planting them on their own—dig a hole three times as deep as the bulb is tall.

Designing with Spring Bulbs

Pairing Bulbs and Perennials

If you're planting bulbs around established perennials, a good strategy is to put naturalizing bulbs around perennials, because the perennials will conceal the bulb foliage as it dies back. When planting bulbs among perennials, an auger is a great tool for getting into tight spaces where there's little room to dig.


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