How to Plant Bulbs

Learn to plant bulbs in your garden with this step-by-step guide.

From: DK Books - Gardeners Guide
Choose Healthy Bulbs to Force Bloom

Choose Healthy Bulbs to Force Bloom

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Materials Needed

  • bulbs
  • garden pots (if using)
  • shovel
  • grit or well-rotted manure
  • garden fork
  • granular fertilizer
  • chicken wire
  • pins or rocks
  • plant markers (optional)

Step 1: Choose bulbs and select a site with free-draining soil

Dig in Sand or Pea Gravel

Dig in Sand or Pea Gravel

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

If you have heavy clay, either dig in plenty of grit and well-rotted manure a month or so before you start, or plant your bulbs in pots.

Step 2: Dig a hole the depth of 3 to 4 times the height of bulbs

Dig Hole to Depth of 4 Times Size of Bulb

Dig Hole to Depth of 4 Times Size of Bulb

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Make sure the hole is large enough to accommodate them at the correct planting distances. Lightly fork over the bottom.

Step 3: Apply granular fertilizer to soil in the hole

Set Out Bulbs with Pointed Growing Tip Up

Set Out Bulbs with Pointed Growing Tip Up

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Then set out the bulbs with the pointed growing tips facing upward. Discard any that are soft or show signs of disease.

Step 4: Fill in the hole with soil

Cover Bulb with Soil and Firm Removing Air Pockets

Cover Bulb with Soil and Firm Removing Air Pockets

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Be careful not to damage the growing tips. Firm the soil down with your hands to push out any air pockets around the bulbs.

Step 5: Cover the area with chicken wire held down with pins or rocks

Cover Area with Chicken Wire to Discourage Pests

Cover Area with Chicken Wire to Discourage Pests

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

This will prevent animals from digging up the bulbs. You might also want to mark the area where you have planted your bulbs to so you won't dig them up later by mistake. Remove the wire when the first shoots appear in the early spring. 

Next Up

How to Plant Springtime Bulbs

Give your lawn and garden spaces new life with these colorful design tips for planting bulbs.

How to Plant Bulbs in Grass

Create a natural-looking display of bulbs in your lawn by adapting your planting technique to the size of the bulbs.

How to Plant Bulbs in a Border

Most bulbs prefer free-draining soil, as they like to be fairly dry when dormant. 

Planting Bulbs

Planting spring-flowering bulbs is easy. The hardest part may be deciding which flowers and how many to plant in your garden.

Planting Bulbs in Pots

A planting of mixed spring bulbs will give quick, near-guaranteed results for kids and a colorful display that can be enjoyed by the rest of the family. 

Planting Bulbs in Containers

Follow these easy steps for planting bulbs in containers and you'll have a display that brings spring to your doorstep.

How to Save and Replant Forced Seasonal Bulbs

In general, the most resilient candidates worth saving are small bulbs that naturalize or reproduce readily in the garden.

Calculating the Number of Bulbs to Buy

Use this guide to decide how to buy and plant bulbs.

How to Grow Bold and Beautiful Bulbs

To get your flower bulbs to bloom in the spring, start planting in the fall.

Force Flowering Bulbs for Winter

The winter garden may be asleep, but you can bring spring color and scent indoors by growing preforced bulbs as houseplants.