Instructions for Planting Bulbs


From the first crocus peeking through the snow to waves of bright tulips nodding in a spring breeze, bulbs create some of our brightest floral scenery. Most of these perennial flowers bloom in the spring, but there are also those that open later in the season. Flower bulbs will be in your garden growing for many years, so preparing the soil and garden before planting will help to guarantee a successful showy flower bed in seasons to come.

Step 1

Lay out your proposed flower garden in a spot that gets the correct amount of sunlight for your particular bulb. Many spring flowering bulbs will bloom before there are large amounts of leaves on trees, so keep the shade requirements in mind when you choose a site.

Step 2

Give your bulbs the best possible medium for growing by adding a good amount of organic matter to the soil. Dig your garden plot to a depth of 12 inches and mix in a generous amount of compost or peat moss. This will loosen the soil and help with drainage, which is important for avoiding rotted bulbs.

Step 3

Mix 2 cups of bone meal and 5 tbs. of 10-10-10 fertilizer. Add this mixture to every 10 square feet of garden plot. The bone meal adds phosphorus, which helps bulbs to develop roots, and the fertilizer aids in plant growth.

Step 4

Plant your bulbs two to three times deeper than the height of the bulb. Smaller crocus bulbs may only need to be buried 3 inches deep, but large daffodils sometimes need to be planted as deep as 8 inches for successful plant growth. Check your bulb packages for the correct depth for each variety.

Step 5

Water the bulbs until the ground is saturated after covering them with soil. This will help to settle the earth around each bulb. Remember that some bulbs are planted very deeply, so add enough water for it to soak deep into the ground.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost or peat moss
  • Bone meal
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer


  • University of Illinois Extension: Bulbs & More--Planting and Care
  • University of Vermont Extension: Bulbs for Spring Bloom
Keywords: planting bulbs, spring flowering bulbs, perennial flowers

About this Author

Anne Baley is a writer and photographer living in Southeast Michigan. She has written dozens of articles about places she has discovered while traveling throughout the United States. Baley's work has appeared in a variety of online outlets, including EndlessSunday, GardenGuides and Travels.