How To Plant Flower Bulbs

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This article will teach you how to plant flowering bulbs.
by Beth Steele · All Zones · Planting · 0 Comments · August 25, 2010 · 11,925 views

Planting bulbs is easy. However, you might break a sweat if you're doing mass plantings. Either way, the two most important points that you should know about planting a bulb are:

  • Setting the bulb at the correct depth
  • Making sure to place the bulb right side up in the hole

Bulb Planting Depth ChartThe chart to the right shows the recommended planting depths and proper positioning for common bulb types. As a general rule, most bulbs should be planted at a depth equal to three times their diameter. For example, plant a 2-inch (5 cm) bulb 6 inches (15 cm) deep. Remnants of roots on the bottom of the bulb should tell you which side of the bulb points down. If you see no sign of root remnants, plant the bulb so that the most pointed, narrow part points up. If you have any doubts, ask your local nurseryman.

What's Your Style?

The planting method and type of bulbs you choose can depend on the design style you want to achieve: natural or formal.

Natural Regarding bulbs, the term "natural" usually refers to the ability of some bulbs to come back year after year. In naturalistic design, you do your best to imitate a natural planting for a particular type bulb. You might plant them by simply walking along a woodland border tossing bulbs here or there and planting them where they land. Once planted and up and growing, natural bulbs, such as Daffodils, will go on to naturalize on their own into a larger patch.

Formal In formal design, it's unlikely you will need or want bulbs that come back every year. Formal designs often use bulbs in densely packed groups or rows, or combined with annual bedding plants in flower bed.

Planting Bulbs

Plant bulbs in well-drained soil. Keep in mind that most bulbs do not like soggy, overly wet soil. Soggy soil can, and often will, rot the bulbs.

If you are planting many bulbs that will be grouped together in a mass or row, dig one big trench or hole at twice the depth you intend on planting the bulbs. If the soil you remove from the planting hole is hard-packed or of poor quality, conditon by mixing in a compost, such as mushroom compost, composted manure, or your own home-made compost. Refill the hole to the halfway point with the amended soil mixture. You can plant bulbs individual by using a hand trowel.

Place and space the bulbs in the planting hole and backfill with mixture.

Apply bulb fertilizer over the planted area and a layer of aged wood mulch, or pine straw.

Water bulb planting thoroughly.

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