Directions for Planting Bulbs


Bulbs are common with flowers, such as tulips and lilies, and some foods are also grown from bulbs, such as onion and garlic. The bulb acts as a food storage area and produces vertical shoots that grow into the plant. Planting from bulbs saves money, as many bulbs will produce for several years in a row, making replanting unnecessary. Bulbs require planting in the fall for a spring harvest or flower, and some varieties are planted in the summer and emerge in the fall.

Step 1

Select an area in the garden that has well-drained soil. Start by spreading 3 to 4 inches of compost over the area, recommends the Bob Vila website. Mix the compost and soil using a spade or rototiller to a depth of 12 to 18 inches.

Step 2

Fertilize. Mix 5 tablespoons of 10-10-10 water-soluble fertilizer into the soil under the area where the bulbs are to be planted, recommends the University of Illinois Extension.

Step 3

Plant the bulb in the soil with the pointed end up as this is where the leaves will emerge from. Make sure the bulb is planted at a depth of three times the bulb's height.

Step 4

Water the bulbs until the soil is moist. This will cause the bulb to root before the cold weather. Do not overwater as this will cause the bulb to rot. Water again when the foliage of the bulb begins to appear in the spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Bulbs
  • Soil
  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Compost


  • Clemson Cooperative Extension: Caring for Spring-flowering bulbs and Planting Summer Bulbs
  • University of Illinois Extension: Bulbs and More
  • Bob Vila: Planting Bulbs
Keywords: planting bulbs, perennial bulb, how-to plant bulbs

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.