How to Plant Bulbs?

Dig Hole or Trench:

Dig individual holes or dig a trench. Several holes are a good idea if you want to plant several groups of bulbs here and there in your rock garden.

However, if you are planning on introducing a nice mass of colour to your flower bed or border, then a trench, or a large irregular hole in the shape of the colour mass you envision, is a better idea.

Condition the Soil:

Now that the holes/trench has been dug, what is the soil like? Is it so wet that a clump of soil balled up in your hand stays in a clump when you open your hand? If so, it's too wet to plant the same day you did the digging. Dig all your holes/trenches and let them sit for a couple of days until the soil dries out a bit.

If necessary, dig the holes a bit deeper, and mix a bit or sand or gravel with the soil at the bottom, so that it drains better. Good drainage is essential for all spring flowering bulbs. If your soil is mostly clay, mix in an organic material such as peat moss or compost; you can add up to 50% organic material. If your soil is mostly sand, add peat moss or compost in the same amount to increase the soil's ability to retain water and nutrients..

Place Bulbs in Hole:

When the soil is dry enough that it crumbles between your fingers, it is O.K. to plant in. Put the bulbs in the holes/trenchs (See How Far Apart) with the pointed sides up.

DO:DON'T:

Don't put any fertilizer or bone meal in with the bulbs. They don't need it. All the food that the flower needs is in the bulb itself. (Bulb food comes later, after the flower has finished blooming).

Watering:

Put the soil back in the holes/trenches. Tamp it down (you're getting rid of airholes). Now water. And I mean really water. Unless the forecast is for 24 hours of non-stop, continuous downpour, water thoroughly. It shouldn't quite look like a mud puddle when you're done, but close. Water it regularly for the next 4 or 5 weeks (again, unless you're having regular downpours).

Mulching:

After about 6 weeks (i.e. when the ground is frozen solid), put a thick cover of mulch on the bed. (This is particularly important if you live in zones 1 -5.) Mulch can be straw, woodchips, peat moss, bark, shredded newspaper &mdash anything that can act as insulation from temperature fluctuations and conserve soil moisture:

Mulch on top of flower bed:

Do nothing else until spring. Then, when all danger of freezing is past, take the mulch off, and, if they haven't already started to poke their heads up, wait for your spring flowers to appear.


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When to Plant | Where to Plant | How Many to Plant | How Deep to Plant | How Far Apart to Plant

What to Do After Flowering | Indoor Forcing

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Page created and maintained by A. Steinbergs

Last modified: October 13, 2008