How to Put Plastic Down When Planting Flower Bulbs


Most flower bulbs, such as daffodils, are perennials. They are planted in the fall and produce blooms in spring. Since they spend many years in the same bed and the bulbs are easily damaged by garden tools, weed prevention is necessary. Most bulbs die back in summer, leaving the soil free for weeds to take over. Laying black plastic mulch prevents the weeds and maintains the soil temperature for the bulbs. The mulch is disguised with more soil or wood chips.

Step 1

Till the soil in the garden bed to a 10-inch depth with a power tiller or hoe. Remove any old plant matter and large rocks.

Step 2

Lay a 3-inch layer of compost over the bed. Till it in to add soil nutrition and drainage. Level the surface of the bed after tilling.

Step 3

Dig a 2-inch deep trench around the bed with the hoe or a trowel. Lay the sheet of plastic mulch over the bed and push the ends into the trench. Refill the trench with soil, anchoring down the edges of the plastic in the process.

Step 4

Cut 3-inch holes from the plastic where you are planting the bulbs. Space larger bulbs 4 to 6 inches apart and smaller ones 2 inches apart.

Step 5

Dig through the cut holes into the soil. Dig to a depth three times the width of the bulb.

Step 6

Place 1 tsp. of bulb fertilizer in the bottom of each hole and work it in. Cover the fertilizer with a thin layer of soil so it won't be in direct contact with the bulb.

Step 7

Set the bulb into the hole, pointed side facing up. Refill the hole with the dirt. Water well. Cover the bed with a 1-inch layer of bark mulch if desired.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid using clear plastic. It acts like a green house and will encourage weed growth. Plastic mulch requires replacing every two to three years. Plan replacements for the years you are dividing your bulbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Power tiller
  • Hoe
  • Compost
  • Black plastic mulch
  • Trowel
  • Bulb fertilizer
  • Bark mulch


  • University of Illinois Extension: Bulbs and More
  • Michigan State University Extension: Using Black Plastic Mulch
Keywords: flower bulbs, black plasic mulch, mulching bulbs

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.