Information About Plant Bulbs


Gardeners choose plant bulbs because they are versatile, easy to work with, and are available in a wide range of colors and varieties. By heeding a few simple rules, even beginners can achieve a beautiful bulb garden in little time.


Bulbs are classified as either spring blooming, such as tulips and daffodils, or summer blooming, such as dahlias or begonias.


Plant bulbs two to two and a half times deeper than the bulb size. Place the bulb in the ground with the pointy end facing up. Add bulb food, and place a layer of mulch on top of the hole to protect the bulb over the winter.


Fertilize bulbs twice a year, at the beginning of spring and in the fall. Use a specialized bulb fertilizer or a generic fertilizer containing nitrogen, potash and phosphorus.

Pest Control

Squirrels and chipmunks are the top enemies of bulbs. Blood meal or cayenne pepper can be placed in the hole to deter the rodents, but they must be reapplied frequently. Cages around the bulbs can be used either above or below the ground.


Bulbs are best divided in the fall after noting which bloom clusters are not performing well. Dig up and separate the bulbs, shaking loose any excess soil. Replant the bulbs individually, adding more food to each hole.

Fun Fact

In a pinch, tulip bulbs can be used as a substitute for onions.


  • Fun Facts About Flowers

Who Can Help

  • University of Illinois Extension: Bulbs and More
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About this Author

Vikki McMahon attended the College of New Jersey before experiencing a variety of career choices, including the pharmaceutical research field, the real estate industry, and the Insurance industry. She has been a freelance writer for 3 years and shares her enthusiasm for parenting and home and garden topics, with published articles appearing on and