How to Plant Tuberous Bulbs

Dalias are common plants with tuberous roots. image by William Wilhelms/


Plants have different kinds of root systems, including rhizomes, tuberous and bulbs. While tuberous roots look like bulbs and are mistakenly called tuberous bulbs, they are not true bulbs. They are simply tuberous roots, commonly called tubers. Among the varieties of plants with tuberous roots are dahlias and sweet potatoes. Follow planting directions for your individual plant, but generally all tubers can be planted in a similar manner.

Step 1

Plant tubers in the spring. In turn, dig them up and store them in a dry cool place during the winter.

Step 2

Divide the tubers. They may have several "eyes" from which the plant will sprout. Use a knife and cut the tubers so you have one eye on each part.

Step 3

Dig a hole approximately 8 to 10 inches deep. Set the soil aside.

Step 4

Add compost or pine bark to the soil and mix. Mix in fertilizer that is labeled as 8-8-8 or 10-10-10. Generally, use about 2 pounds per 100 square feet of dirt; however, select a fertilizer specific to your type of plant and use the amount suggested by the label.

Step 5

Back-fill the hole with 6 inches of the dirt-fertilizer mixture. Place the tuber on its side with the eye facing up.

Step 6

Cover with the remaining soil and insert a stake if necessary so the plant will have support when it grows.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer


  • University of Illinois Extension
Keywords: planting tubers, planting dahlia, growing tubers

About this Author

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Photo by: William Wilhelms/