How to Plan Bulb Planting


Bulbs add early color to the landscape, adding interest in early to late spring when other plants are just beginning to return from dormancy. There is a large variety of bulbs to choose from, including daffodils, tulips, crocus and others. They come in a range of sizes and colors, with suitable varieties for nearly any landscape plan. Planning your bulb planting allows you to add bulbs in a way that is both natural and attractive, making the most of these brief but colorful flowers.

Step 1

Survey your landscaping in early spring before perennial plants and deciduous trees and shrub begin leafing out and flowering. Look for bare areas that will benefit from added color, such as under deciduous trees and shrubs, in empty annual flower beds and borders, or near the foundations of your home.

Step 2

Sketch out your yard on graph paper, drawing in the existing landscape plants and shapes of existing beds. Make note of what is currently planted in the beds and when it begins to grow or flower.

Step 3

Choose what size of plants are needed for each bare area. Use tall bulbs, such as daffodils or tulips, near the foundations of homes or in the backs of large planting areas. Use smaller bulbs, such as crocus or snow drops, under shrubs or in the forefront of large beds.

Step 4

Plant bulbs with bright, warm colors in the back of beds or in areas that have partial shade, such as near buildings or under deciduous trees and shrubs. Plant cool-color bulbs, such as blues and violets, in the front of beds and in brightly lit areas. The warm colors brighten up the back of the bed and make it appear larger.

Step 5

Plant bulbs in clusters or small groupings, not in rows. Rows appear unnatural and do not have as much impact as clusters. Use the same bulbs in the same colors in each grouping of five or more bulbs. Plant white flowering bulbs between different colored groupings to soften the flow of colors.

Step 6

Plan your bulb gardens for longevity. Plant early, mid-season and late flowering bulbs in the same bed to provide a succession of blooms from late winter until late spring. Use varying season bulbs of the same variety, such as all tulips, or intersperse different bulbs to change the look of the bed throughout spring.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid planting bulbs under evergreen plants, as these will shade out the bulbs and inhibit blooming.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen
  • Graph paper


  • University of Illinois Extension: Landscaping With Bulbs
Keywords: plan bulb planting, growing flower bulbs, garden design

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.