# Calculating the Number of Bulbs to Buy

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

### Tulip Bulbs

Choose healthy tulip bulbs that are firm and dry. The papery wrapper should be intact. With bulbs, you get what you pay for—bigger is better.

Photo by: Steven Bemelman for iBulb.org

Steven Bemelman for iBulb.org

Choose healthy tulip bulbs that are firm and dry. The papery wrapper should be intact. With bulbs, you get what you pay for—bigger is better.

## Tools and Materials

• Shovel
• Rake
• Soil amendments such as compost
• Sulfur or lime
• Trowel
• Hose

## Step 1: Counting Your Bulbs

To simplify your bulb-buying calculations, we created this table of the most popular bulbs and their planting density in various-sized beds. Just measure the size of your bed and decide which type of bulb you want to plant, and the chart will determine how many bulbs you should buy. Of course, depending on both the effect you're trying to create and your budget, you can adjust the actual number of bulbs you plant. For example, for the most dramatic and showy effect, buy more bulbs than indicated and plant them closer together. If you're mixing other bulbs in the bed to provide contrast to the main flower variety, buy fewer bulbs and plant them farther apart.

 Bed size in square feet Bulb 10 25 50 100 Anemone, Crocus, Muscari, or Scilla 200 500 1,000 2,000 Daffodil (large) 75 205 420 1,100 Daffodil (small) 140 340 675 1,350 Tulip (large) 65 180 360 725 Tulip (species) 75 205 420 1,100

## Step 2: Selecting Bulbs

When selecting bulbs, remember that the larger the bulb, the more flowers it will produce the first year after planting. For the most dramatic effect, plant only one variety. If you want to stagger and elongate the flowering period, plant early, mid-season, and late-season varieties of the same type of bulb, and group them by bloom season.

## Step 3: Planting Bulbs

To create a bulb bed, till the bed and remove rocks, roots and weeds (and sod if the area is still lawn), then amend the soil with a 3- to 4-inch layer of compost. Based on a soil test, adjust the pH to between 6 and 7. Spread a granular bulb fertilizer (9-9-6) on the planting area.

## Step 4: Space the Bulbs

Space the bulbs evenly apart in the bed, but avoid arranging them like soldiers in a straight line; staggered spacing will give the bulbs a more natural look when they bloom. Follow the planting depths suggested for the various bulbs. A good rule of thumb: plant in a hole three times as deep as the bulb's greatest diameter. Water the bed well.

## Step 5: After the Show Is Over

After flowering is finished, let the foliage yellow naturally before cutting it back, and plant annual flowers such as zinnias or marigolds in the bed to provide summer color. Be careful digging in the bed so as not to disturb the bulbs. (Note: Many gardeners plant tulips for one springtime show only because bloom in succeeding years is rarely as dramatic. Therefore, especially in the case of tulips that you don't expect to rebloom, pull faded leaves immediately after flowers fade.)

### Next Up

#### How to Grow Bold and Beautiful Bulbs

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

#### 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.

#### 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 Containers

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

#### Q&A: When Is It Too Late to Plant Bulbs?

If you miss the optimum planting time for spring-flowering bulbs, go ahead and plant them anyway.

#### How to Plant Dahlias

Learn the basics of planting dahlias—including simple tips to improve your success.

#### Lasagna Gardening

Layer bulbs this winter for a spectacular spring show and bake up a tantalizing succession of color and fragrance that will last for months.

#### Grow Guide: Planting Bulbs

Gardening expert Felder Rushing offers tips on planting bulbs.

#### How to Force Daffodil Bulbs

Tuck these spring-flowering bulbs into containers while the weather's chilly for an early touch of spring.

### Go Shopping

Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors.

By: HGTV

By: HGTV

6am | 5c

6:30am | 5:30c

7am | 6c

7:30am | 6:30c

8am | 7c

8:30am | 7:30c

9am | 8c

9:30am | 8:30c

10am | 9c

10:30am | 9:30c

11am | 10c

11:30am | 10:30c

12pm | 11c

1pm | 12c

2pm | 1c

3pm | 2c

4pm | 3c

5pm | 4c

6pm | 5c

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

8pm | 7c

9pm | 8c

10pm | 9c

10:31pm | 9:31c

11pm | 10c

11:31pm | 10:31c

12am | 11c

1am | 12c

1:31am | 12:31c

2am | 1c

2:31am | 1:31c

3am | 2c

4am | 3c

5am | 4c