How to Plant Spring Bulbs Late


Plant spring bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, in the fall about six weeks before the ground is expected to freeze. However, if you miss this ideal planting time, it might not be too late. As long as the ground is not frozen solid and still workable, with a bit of extra care, your spring bulbs will grow and bloom in the spring or early summer. Plant bulbs that are firm, plump and appear to be healthy.

Step 1

Loosen the soil with a hoe or tiller and incorporate about 2-to-4 inches of compost or well-rotted manure into soil that is not rich and loamy (e.g., sandy or clay soil). Mix it into soil that is twice as deep as the bulbs are going to be planted. For example, tulips are planted about 5-to-6 inches beneath the soil, so loosen the soil 10-to-12 inches deep.

Step 2

Sprinkle a light dusting of bone meal at the bottom of each planting hole. Since the bulbs are getting a late start, bone meal will help them grow roots and become established more quickly.

Step 3

Plant spring bulbs with their tips facing up. Bulbs are planted at varying depths and are usually planted three times as deep as their diameter. Space bulbs to allow for mature growth, which depends on the bulbs.

Step 4

Backfill the soil, pack it down lightly and water the planting site with 1 inch of water. Then, add about 2-to-4 inches of mulch to help keep the ground warm longer so the bulbs have more time to become established.

Things You'll Need

  • Hoe or tiller
  • Compost or manure
  • Water
  • Mulch


  • The Master Gardeners: When Is It to Late to Plant Spring Bulbs?
  • Wilson Bros. Nursery: How to Plant Flower Bulbs
Keywords: plant spring bulbs, plant bulbs late, plant bulbs winter

About this Author

Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with a movie script, "Homecoming," she co-wrote currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.