How to Transplant & Divide Bulb Plants


Flowering bulb plants are prized in the garden because of their easy planting and minimal care requirements. Bulbs include spring flowering plants like daffodils as well as summer bulbs like lilies. Bulbs produce new bulbs underground each year, so they eventually require dividing so the bed doesn't become overcrowded. Dividing then transplanting the extra bulbs into a new bed allows you to expand your garden without the need of purchasing more flower bulbs. Most bulbs require dividing every three to five years.


Step 1

Divide spring-flowering bulbs in early summer and summer-flowering bulbs in fall after the foliage has died off and turned yellow. Dig around the bulbs to an 8- to 10-inch depth then slide the spade under then plant, lifting the bulb out of the ground.

Step 2

Examine the bulbs for any signs of disease or rot, such as soft spots. Throw away any that are diseased or damaged.

Step 3

Break apart the bulbs where they join together. Grasp each bulb in one hand and twist them until they snap apart.


Step 1

Prepare a bed in full sunlight. Choose a bed that is well-drained and not prone to standing water. Lay a 2-inch layer of compost over the bed and till it in to a 10-inch depth to aid drainage and add nutrients to the soil.

Step 2

Fertilize the bed with 2 lbs. of 5-10-10 fertilizer for every 100 square feet of garden. Work the fertilizer into the soil.

Step 3

Plant each bulb to a depth two to three times its width. Space small bulbs 2 to 4 inches apart in all directions, and space large bulbs 4 to 6 inches apart. Plant large lily bulbs 12 inches apart.

Step 4

Water the bed thoroughly after planting so it is evenly moist throughout. Place a 2-inch layer of mulch, such as wood chips or straw, over the entire bed to help preserve moisture and to prevent weeds.

Tips and Warnings

  • Smaller bulbs produce small, weak flowers. Replant only the largest and healthiest of the bulbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Dividing Hardy Bulbs
Keywords: dividing bulbs, transplanting bulbs, growing bulb flowers

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.