5 tips for planting flower bulbs

Growing the perfect garden is no easy task. Here are the five best tips to help you grow beautiful blooms next spring and every year to come, even if you're a novice gardener.

5 tips for planting flower bulbs

1. Pick the right flower bulbs

Before you plant your flower bulbs, make sure you're selecting the right ones to make it easier for your flower bulbs to grow and ensure you'll get a flower that produces beautiful blooms.

In general:

  • Try to pick the biggest flower bulbs you see and then inspect them for firmness.
  • If the bulb you want to purchase is soft or has any mould on it, it may be a sign that the bulb is too sick to yield a flower.

2. Plant at the right time

For most flowers started from bulbs, the best time to plant them is in the fall.

  • Garden stores usually start selling their flower bulbs during the summer months, but you can also find good deals on flowers in late fall, when stores are looking to get rid of their stock.
  • Many popular flower bulbs, such as tulips, hyacinths and daffodils, can be planted in late fall.
  • Some short-blooming plants that should be planted in early fall include snowdrops, crocuses and windflowers.

Ask the experts at your local garden supply store or home improvement centre when is best to plant the bulbs you purchase.

3. Dig the right depth

Flower bulbs come in many different sizes, which can influence how deep you'll want to plant them.

For best planting depth

  • First, measure the height of your flower bulb (i.e., from the pointy tip to the rounded bottom part).
  • Next, dig a hole three to four times as deep as the actual size of your bulb and drop it into the hole.
  • Ensure the bulb has plenty of fertilizer in the hole where you've planted it.

If you have a three-centimetre (1 1/4 in.) tall bulb, for example, you'll want to plant it about nine to 12 centimetres (3 1/2 to 4 3/4 in.) deep.

4. Plant in the right direction

Many people are confused about which way they're actually supposed to plant their bulbs. For some types of flowers, the direction does matter.

Planting the right side up

  • With tulips, daffodils and alliums, for example, you should plant with the pointed side of the bulb facing up.
  • If you're unsure exactly which way to orient a bulb, it's often acceptable to plant it sideways, as the flower will usually find its way through your soil to the surface.

Of course, you can always seek advice online or from experts at your local home improvement or gardening centre if you're unsure.

5. Know where to plant

There are some differences where bulbs should be planted.

  • Some bulbs, like wood anemone, snowdrop and lily of the valley, are known to grow well in shady conditions, because their natural environment is in woodlands with limited sunlight.
  • Most bulbs – including narcissus, tulips and grape hyacinth – do best with lots of sun.

A general rule of thumb is to plant your flowers in an area where they'll receive at least eight hours of sunlight per day, unless they are in the minority of flower bulbs that enjoy shady conditions.

Flower bulbs are essential to a beautiful spring- and summer-flowering garden, since they're often the first flowers to appear in spring and help fill in the gaps as your garden matures over the summer. Easy to plant and easy to love, flowers started from bulbs are a joy in any garden.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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