Spring Bulb Planting Instructions


The big secret about spring blooming bulbs is to plant them in the fall, before the ground freezes. Most spring bulbs need a period of chilling in order to grace you with lovely flowers in the spring. The blooms will come up year-after-year. When they seem too be getting too crowded, dig them up in the fall, removing some. Plant the extras in other locations in your yard or in pots to set on your patio or deck.

Step 1

Prepare your soil for planting. Dig up the area 12 to 18 inches deep. Take out any stones, twigs, weeds or other debris. Break up the dirt clods until you have a fine soil.

Step 2

Layer 2 inches of compost and sprinkle phosphate over the top, for food. Work it into the soil. Compost will amend a soil that has too much clay, as well as, a sand based soil. Rake the area even.

Step 3

Dig a hole, with your trowel, for each bulb. The hole should be 3 times as deep as the bulb is long, as a general rule. However, if your bulbs come with alternate planting depth instructions, follow those suggestions.

Step 4

Drop a bulb in each hole. The top of the bulb is the pointed end, which should face upward. Smooth the soil over the hole.

Step 5

Water the bulb area directly after planting. Start watering again in the spring, when the bulb's shoots first appear. If the ground is already moist from winter and spring rain, don't water until the soil appears dry. Then, water with your normal weekly landscaping.

Step 6

Apply a bulb fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, in the fall, according to the manufacturer's suggestions. This type of fertilizer has equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Things You'll Need

  • Bulbs
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Rake
  • Trowel (small hand shovel)
  • Fertilizer


  • The Helpful Gardener: Gardening with Flower Bulbs
  • University of Illinois Extension: Bulbs and More

Who Can Help

  • Bulb and Bloom
Keywords: planting bulbs, spring bulbs, bulb care

About this Author

Karen Ellis has been a full-time writer since 2006. She is an expert crafter, with more than 30 years of experience in knitting, chrocheting, quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and other arts. She is an expert gardener, with lifelong experience. Ellis has taken many classes in these subjects and taught classes, as well.