Planting Spring Bulbs

A couple of blooming daffodils.

Planting bulbs is a fun way to add a pop of color and character to your yard, and getting started with the process is easy! While the world of spring bulbs is simple to navigate, there are tips for any beginning gardener to follow that will ensure a successful growing season. Read the best advice below and you’ll be on your way to gorgeous florals this spring!

Select Quality Bulbs

A pair of gloved hands holding flower bulbs.

Not just any bulbs will do for your yard this spring. Instead, opt for high-quality bulbs that are both plump and firm. Stray away from bulbs that are soft and mushy, and obviously avoid any that have mold growing on them. Remember that bigger is better when it comes to bulbs: the larger and more robust the bulb, the bigger the plant it will yield. Choose wisely for a bountiful garden.

Choose the Right Spot

The world of bulbs relies on a wealth of smart choices. Deciding on the right spot to plant your bulbs is important in the fate of your garden. Most bulbs grow well in areas that receive at least six full hours of direct sunlight each day and that have well-drained soil.

Go for the Right Depth

Bulbs being planted in a garden.

Finding the right level of depth for your bulbs can be tricky, especially if you’re not used to planting year after year. This is a common question, so don’t fret. Dig a hole about two to three times deeper than the bulb you’re planting is tall. For example, if your bulb is approximately three inches tall, your hole should be between six and nine inches deep. This is a simple rule of thumb that goes a long way in the success of gardening with bulbs.

Plant Them Correctly

What does it mean to plant a bulb correctly? Simply put, they should be planted facing pointy side up. Most bulbs possess a pointed end, so this rule of thumb makes it easy to plant effectively. However, if your bulb doesn’t have this characteristic, be sure to plant with the root side pointed downward to ensure a successful flower or bloom.

Provide the Right Soil

Spring flowers growing.

Most bulbs will prosper in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. This means that the soil used for your bulbs should be mixed with compost, which is especially important in soil that is heavy and clay-like or in a ground that is consistently wet.

Water Correctly

Especially for those who are new at planting bulbs, watering well can prove to be a tricky balance. Bulbs certainly appreciate a good drink after they’re planted, which encourages them to send roots into the soil and to become well-established. Water robustly, especially after initially planting, to eliminate air pockets in soil that are prone to causing your bulbs to dry out.

Plant in Groups

Planting bulbs in soil.

To achieve the best aesthetic possible with your bulbs, be sure to plant them in big and irregular groupings around your yard or landscape. This looks better than planting them in straight rows. (But if that's the look you want, go for it!) A good tactic to decide where to plant a group of bulbs is simple: toss a handful of them onto the ground and simply plant them where they fall! It’s okay if they’re unevenly spaced—this only adds to their natural look and will provide character in your yard.

Try Containers

While bulbs certainly look great planted freely around your yard, another great idea is to try planting them in containers. Tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths look great in differently shaped and sized containers around your yard. These can be easily moved and can be brought inside once cold weather hits, keeping these plants alive for a long life of beauty for you to enjoy.