How to Plant Perennial Bulbs


Perennial bulbs include many flowers we don't think of as perennial, including some gladiolas, freesias, dahlias, cana and calla lilies and many others. These flowers are native to tropical and sub-tropical climates and won't survive in many areas, even those with mild winters. Others such as tulips, daffodils and crocus love the cold winters and need a cold period to flower. Planting perennial bulbs is very easy and is almost certainly guaranteed to produce flowers.

Step 1

Select a sunny garden bed to plant your bulbs. Turn the soil and loosen it with a spade or fork.

Step 2

Consult the package directions for the planting depth your bulbs require. Some bulbs are planted as deep as 12 inches. Others, such as iris, require the top of the rhizome, or bulb, to be above the soil.

Step 3

Use a bulb planter or hand spade to dig holes for the bulbs. Add bulb fertilizer to the bottom of the hole and mix it with a small amount of soil.

Step 4

Place the bulbs in the holes. Planting depth refers to the distance between the top of the bulb and the surface of the garden bed. Plant the bulbs with the root ends down and the shoot ends up.

Step 5

Cover the bulbs with the soil you removed from the holes and tamp it lightly in place. Water the bulbs enough to get them moist, but not soaking wet.

Step 6

Lift bulbs before the first frost for indoor storage if they are not hardy in your zone. Store them in peat moss over the winter and replant in spring. Divide bulbs after lifting or before planting if they require it.

Tips and Warnings

  • Squirrels and other rodents love to eat tulip and a few other bulbs. Protect these bulbs with small wire cages to keep the squirrels from digging them up.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade or garden fork
  • Bulb planter or hand spade
  • Bulb fertilizer
  • Flower bulbs


  • From Seed To Bloom; Eileen Powell; 1995
  • Planting bulbs.

Who Can Help

  • Specific bulb information and advice.
Keywords: planting perennial, bulbs rhizomes corms tubers, spring fall flowers

About this Author

Michael Logan is a writer, editor and web page designer. His professional background includes electrical, computer and test engineering, real estate investment, network engineering and management, programming and remodeling company owner. Logan has been writing professionally since he was first published in "Test & Measurement World" in 1989.