How to Plant Tiny Bulbs


Tiny bulbs come in many forms. In some cases, the small bulbs may be offshoots of a dormant older bulb. These "babies" can be slipped from the "mother" bulb and then placed into the soil as a separate planting. Tiny bulbs range in all species of plants, from edible garlic to flowering dwarf hyacinth. Ground preparation is an important factor when inserting these small plants into the soil. Not only does the ground have to be well worked, but a sufficient amount of compost must be tilled or cultivated into the growing bed.

Step 1

Prepare the garden bulb bed by digging the soil out and turning it over. This will raise the lower portion of the growing bed to the surface. The entire bulb bed should be turned over by using a sharp, round point shovel. The bed must also be located in an area that has good drainage. All bulbs do not like "wet feet."

Step 2

Add sufficient amounts of compost or peat moss to the growing bed. In most cases, covering the surface of the bed with 3 to 4 inches of organic material will add greatly to the soil's properties.

Step 3

Work the organic material into the soil with either a hand cultivator or a power tiller. The more thoroughly the organic material is incorporated, the more responsive the tiny bulbs will be to the early spring temperatures.

Step 4

Level the growing bed with the garden rake. The soil should be soft, and you should be able to easily poke your fingers to a depth of 5 to 6 inches.

Step 5

Lay out the tiny bulbs on the surface of the soil. The bulbs can be spaced from 1 to 2 inches apart. Depending on your own taste, you may also want to consider laying out the bulbs in small clusters for areas that will have a burst of color. Be sure to place the tiny bulbs near the front of the growing bed, as the small bulbs will also produce small plants. Larger plants will tend to shade out any smaller plants placed behind them.

Step 6

Use your finger and push the tiny bulbs into the loose soil. Insert the bulb 2 1/2 times its own diameter into the ground. If the bulb is 1 inch in diameter, the full depth must be 2 1/2 inches. A 1/2-inch diameter bulb should be placed approximately 1 1/2 inches deep.

Step 7

Water the planting area thoroughly with the garden hose. This will aid in removing any air that is around the tiny bulbs. Unless the season is especially dry, the first watering is the only added moisture the tiny bulbs will require.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel, round point
  • Compost or peat moss
  • Hand cultivator or power tiller
  • Garden rake
  • Garden hose


  • University of California: Plant Bulbs for Spring
  • North Dakota Extension Service: Tulips
  • University of Arkansas: Master Gardeners
Keywords: small bulb planting, bulb preparation, bed prepapration

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.