How to Plant Trays for Bulbs


When seeking to mass-propagate bulbs, either for your own stock or for commercial sale, it is easiest to propagate bulbs from their scales. Bulb scales can be separated and used to grow new bulbs, known as bulblets. A bulblet looks like a miniature version of a bulb. It is best to use only the plumpest and healthiest scales to produce new, healthy plants. If a bulb scale that has a virus is used, the new plant will also have the virus. Bulbs can be scaled at any time of the year.

Step 1

Separate the parent bulb by its scales using your fingers. Gently break off the scales, making sure that a portion of the basal plate is removed with them.

Step 2

Fill a seedling tray with moistened peat moss.

Step 3

Place each scale into the peat moss and bury it halfway.

Step 4

Cover the container with a plastic bag.

Step 5

Place the bad in a warm, dark place such as a closet or cupboard.

Step 6

Check the bag weekly, and mist the scales if they or the peat moss starts to dry out. If mildew starts to form, wash the scales, replant and rebag them. Tiny bulblets should form on the bottom edge of the scale after 8 to 10 weeks.

Step 7

Transfer the seed flat with the bulblets and the bag to the refrigerator and chill at 40 degrees Fahrenheit for six to eight weeks. Most bulbs require a cooling off point before they start to grow. When the bulbs are planted in the ground, the winter months give them this cooling off point.

Step 8

When the bulbets begin to show growth, treat them as you would seedlings.

Things You'll Need

  • Parent bulb
  • Peat moss
  • Seedling tray
  • Plastic bag
  • Refrigerator
  • Horticultural fungicide
  • Water bottle for misting


  • Propagation of Bulbs
  • How to Prooagate Bulbs

Who Can Help

  • Twin Scaling
Keywords: propagating bulbs, starting bulbs, scaling bulbs, twin scaling bulbs

About this Author

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.