How to plant bulbs

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Tulips, lilies, daffodils and other flowers that grow from bulbs are among the most popular garden blooms. Gardening editor Kristin Schleiter shares her techniques for how to plant bulbs.

How to plant bulbs How to plant a single bulb
  1. Use the bulb planter and press down in the soil, twisting as you go. (dig down about 3x the depth of a bulb)
  2. Pull out the bulb planter.
  3. Place the bulb in the whole, roots facing downward.
  4. Fill your hole and cover your bulb with soil.

How to plant a group of bulbs
  1. Determine where you want the bulbs to go.
  2. Dig an odd shaped hole 3x the depth of the bulbs. (This allows the bulbs to look more natural when they grow.)
  3. Add a handful of fertilizer to the soil in the hole and mix it into the soil.
  4. Add the bulbs by staggering them throughout the hole, root side down.
  5. Backfill the soil over the hole and bulbs.
  6. Water the bulbs.

Tips
  • When shopping for bulbs you want them to feel very heavy and very firm.
  • If you’re not sure which side if the bulb is the root then place it on its side.
  • When digging the hole be sure to use your legs to avoid a sore back.
Transcript Hi, I’m Kristin Schleiter for howdini.com today we are going to be planting bulbs. We’re going to do it in two ways, one we’re going to plant just a single bulb something that’s easy to do if you have an established bed. And then I’m going to show you how to plant them all in one big hold; it’s a little more time but a little less effort.

When we’re using the single bulb we’re going to be using this nice handy little bulb planter. It’s inexpensive and easy to find in any box store around town and its quite easy to use. For digging the larger hole we’re going to use the big shovel, its easy to use and makes the job go quickly. We’re also going to add a little bulb fertilizer, which will help give the bulbs a little extra boost to make sure their flowers are nice, big and healthy this spring. And today we’re working with daffodil bulbs, these are great ones they’re heavy for their size, nice and firm. When you’re shopping for bulbs it’s a lot like shopping for fruit, you want it to feel very heavy and very firm. And that is going to assure again that they will have great flowers in the spring.

First, we are going to take the bulb planter and press down in the soil twisting as you go, and you can see the soil coming right up through the center of the planter. You want to get three times the dept of the bulb and that’s sort of the rule of thumb for any sort of bulb. So we’re going to push down, keep pushing, keep digging, it takes a little bit of elbow grease. Once you get it pull it out and out comes the soil. Now we’re ready to drop the bulb in the hole. When you do that you want to make sure it goes root side down. And if you have a bulb where you can’t exactly tell which is the root and which is the top put it in sideways and the bulb will figure it out for itself in the spring. Down into the hole it goes and backfill.

Now I’m going to show you how to dig the big hole for the mass bulbs. Figure out first where you want the bulbs to be and remember that unless you have a very formal yard it looks nice when they sort of have a natural feel, scattered a bit. So you want to dig your hole in an odd shape not a perfect circle. I’m going to plant from here to around there. So I’m just going to dig, don’t have to get that much deeper, almost enough. When your digging it’s a good idea to use your legs, if you try to do this with all your back, you can end up with a sore back. So make sure you push with your leg and use your legs to remove the soil.

Well it looks like our hole is just about done, now its time to plant. The first step is to add some fertilizer, just scatter it and mix it with the soil. You don’t want to use too much. Next we’re going to add the bulbs. Just nestle them down and make sure they’re root side down, and try to make sure as you go you’re not lining them up in perfect little lines because it doesn’t look very natural that way. Keep going, you can put some close together or further apart. I think we’re just about done we have space for just one more bulb. Now the last thing is to backfill. Take the soil and plunk it back on top, be careful not to knock anybody over if you can help it.

That’s about it; the last step would be watering. I’m not going to water because we’re getting some rain tonight, but the bulbs need some water some time soon so if there’s no rain in your forecast make sure you give them water soon. Though they are dormant now they grow nice root support systems in the spring so you want to make sure they do get some water. Well, that’s it, next spring we’re going to have some beautiful daffodil brightening up the garden. I’m Kristin Schleiter from howdini.com
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  • Kristin Schleiter

    Kristin Schleiter Gardening Editor Kristin Schleiter is a horticulturist and member of numerous gardening associations. She received the CNLA’s Certified Nursery Professional accreditation. more about this expert »

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