How to plant bulbs

Written by april kohl
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How to plant bulbs
Plant bulbs with the tips pointing up, as that is where the stem will grow from. (sprout plant image by Kir from

Planting bulbs is one of the more enjoyable parts of gardening. You get to choose which scents and colours to fill your home and garden with, and arrange where each flower will grow. Then, when spring comes round, the fruits of your endeavours are there for all to see. Knowing how to plant bulbs correctly is the key to enjoying gardening success.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Trowel
  • Bulbs
  • Soil
  • Plant fertilizer
  • Bonemeal
  • Watering can

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  1. 1

    Choose the right spot for growing your plants. The ground should be in a place where the sun shines brightly for much of the day, because the bulbs will need somewhere sunny and warm. Dig the soil with your trowel to a depth approximately three times the diameter of the bulb; so a three inch diameter bulb will need a nine inch deep hole to grow in. Adjust the depth of the hole depending on the soil type; with heavy soil requiring less depth.

  2. 2

    Add a little fertilizer to the hole and plant your bulb with the tip facing up. The tip is where the stem will grow from but if you are having trouble finding the tip, do not worry too much. The plant will be able to work its way out, although it may take a little longer.

  3. 3

    Add a little bonemeal over the bulb, as this helps to encourage strong root growth during the initial growing stage. Fill in the hole using the soil mix. For heavy, clay-like soil consider adding a small amount of grit to the soil mixture to help drainage. Water the bulbs when you're done filling in the hole, to encourage growth.

Tips and warnings

  • For heavy soils, drainage can be a problem. Bulbs will die if they are soaked in too much water, so add grit to the hole before and after planting your bulb. Add more grit on top of the soil after the bulb is planted, to help the soil drain more easily before rainwater has a chance to soak in.
  • When choosing which bulbs to plant, avoid any that appear “squishy” or look like they are starting to turn rotten. Rotten bulbs will not sprout and planting them will simply be a waste of your time. However, they can still provide valuable nutrients, so consider using them on a compost heap if you have one.

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