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How to Plant Jonquil Bulbs

By G.K. Bayne ; Updated September 21, 2017
Plant jonquils for spring blooms.

Jonquils have reed-like leaves with sweet-smelling flowers. The green leaves are typically the first plants to break through the soil in early spring. In some cases, jonquils will even push up through small amounts of snow on the ground. Plant all jonquil bulbs in areas with well-drained soil and exposure to full sunlight to promote good flower growth. The green, reed like leaves must also be exposed to full sun after the flowers die back. This will recharge the underground bulb for next year's flowers.

Dig a new jonquil bed using a shovel or work the soil with a mechanical tiller to between 10 and 12 inches deep.

Incorporate liberal quantities of sand, peat moss and other organic materials into clay soils. Lighter loamy soils will not require soil amendments. Make sure the soil has a final mixture of properties that allows it to drain well. Soils that hold excessive moisture may cause the bulbs to rot in the ground.

Test soil condition by first moistening. Grab a handful of the moist soil. Squeeze into a ball. If the ball easily breaks apart, the soil will drain well. If the soil ball takes excessive pressure to break apart, add more soil amendments. In some cases, tight soils may take as much as six bushels of organic material per 100 square feet of flowerbed.

Add 2 to 3 lbs. of 6-24-24 fertilizer per 100 square feet of the flowerbed. Work the fertilizer into the soil with the shovel or tiller.

Space the bulbs 6 to 12 inches apart, and 5 to 6 inches deep. A good rule of thumb is to plant the jonquil bulb two to three times the bulb’s diameter, deep. In other words, plant a 2-inch-diameter bulb between 4 and 6 inches deep. Plant jonquil bulbs before October 1 to ensure enough growth to the bulbs before ground freeze.

Cover the bulbs with the flowerbed soil. Water the bulbs well to remove any air from around the newly planted bulbs. Keep the flowerbed moist during the winter, but not overly wet. If you have a winter drought may occur, irrigate the bulbs so the moisture reaches the full planting depth.

Layer up to 3 inches of a wood-based mulch over the newly planted jonquil flowerbed. You can use pine straw, wood chips, shredded bark or sawdust. The mulch layer will retain moisture, keep the bed at an even temperature and retard weed growth.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Rototiller (optional)
  • Sand (optional)
  • Peat moss (optional)
  • Organic material (optional)
  • 6-24-24 fertilizer
  • Mulch


  • Jonquil bulbs may need separation every five to 10 years of growth. When transplanting the bulbs, do not allow them to dry out. Make all bed preparations before digging older bulbs from established beds.