How to Plant and Harvest Daffodil & Tulip Bulbs


Daffodils and tulips bulbs are harbingers of spring. They grow best in areas where the winters provide several months cold ground temperatures. If the bulbs aren't chilled, they most likely won't bloom. There are hundreds of varieties and colors of tulips available. Daffodils are primarily yellow, gold and cream. There are a few light pink daffodils as well.

Step 1

Store bulbs in a cool, dry place until six weeks before the first hard frost.

Step 2

Dig a hole 12 inches deep in soil that receives a minimum of eight hours of sunlight a day in spring with the bulbs are blooming. You may be able to take advantage of spaces under deciduous trees that don't put out their leaves until after the bulbs are finished.

Step 3

Spread a 4-inch layer of compost over the bed and add slow-release fertilizer. Till the bed, mixing in the compost and fertilizer. Rake smooth.

Step 4

Plant bulbs in holes three times as deep as the bulb is tall. If the tulip bulb is 2 inches tall, plant it in a hole 6 inches deep. Daffodils are usually bigger than tulip bulbs so plant them deeper.

Step 5

Water well so the ground is soaked to the depth the bulbs are planted. If fall rains don't provide 1 inch of water a week, supplement by watering. It's not necessary to water after the first hard frost.

Step 6

Cover the ground where you planted the tulips with chicken wire if squirrels are a problem. They won't dig through the wire to get to the bulbs. Daffodil bulbs are poisonous so squirrels won't eat them.

Step 7

Remove spent flowers but don't cut back the leaves. The leaves must remain on the plant until they've completely withered to give energy for the next year's flowers. Mark where the tulips and daffodils are planted so you'll know where to dig to harvest them.

Step 8

Dig the bulbs up carefully in early fall if you live in a warm winter area. Store the bulbs in the refrigerator--not freezer--to chill them for eight to twelve weeks and before replanting them.

Tips and Warnings

  • Daffodils are poisonous. Don't plant near the vegetable garden so you won't confuse a daffodil bulbs with an onion or shallot.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Hand shovel
  • Chicken wire
  • Markers


  • "The Country Garden"; Charlie Ryrie; 2003
  • Tulip World: Flower Bulb Help
Keywords: plant tulips bulbs, growing spring bulbs, plant daffodil

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.