In order to have healthy plants and successful blooms, bulbs must be planted at the proper depth and spacing. It always pays to spend a few extra minutes to get things planted correctly, but with bulbs it’s even more important – too deep, or too shallow, and your bulbs may fail to bloom or not even sprout at all.

Here’s what you need to know about the proper depths for planting and replanting spring bulbs.

In order to have healthy plants and successful blooms, bulbs must be planted at the proper depth and spacing. It always pays to spend a few extra minutes to get things planted correctly, but with bulbs it’s even more important – too deep, or too shallow, and your bulbs may fail to bloom or not even sprout at all. And if you crowd them, or plant them too sparsely, you’ll likely be disappointed with the overall effect.

Here are a few general guidelines to help you decide how to plant your bulbs:

  • Bulb Size: Most spring bulbs should be planted at a depth about three times the diameter of the bulb.

  • Measure correctly: Depth refers to the bottom of the planting hole, where the base of the bulb will rest.
  • Layering: Since different types of bulbs are planted at different depths, you can layer them in a planting bed for a naturalized, drifting look. Just make sure you don’t plant bulbs right on top of each other – give each one some room.
  • Follow Instructions: If your purchased bulbs have planting instructions, by all means follow them. Some hybrids and special cultivars may vary from the typical recommended planting depths, so you’re better off following the grower’s advice rather than the list below.

Here are the recommended planting depths and spacing for a variety of popular spring bulbs:

Plant:Depth:Spacing:
Allium, large6”- 8”6”- 12”
Allium, small3”- 4”3”
Anemone2”- 5”6”
Calla6”- 8”12”
Chionodoxa (Glory-of-the-Snow)3”- 4”3”
Crocus3”- 4”3”
Fritillaria meleagris3”- 5”4”
Fritillaria imperialis6”- 8”10”- 12”
Muscari (Grape hyacinth)3”3”
Hyacinth6”- 8”6”
Iris germanica (Bearded Iris)1”8”- 10”
Iris reticulata (Reticulated Iris)3”- 4”4”
Leucojum aestivum (Spring Snowflake)5”4”
Lily6”- 8”8”- 10”
Narcissus, large (Daffodil)6”- 8”6”
Narcissus, small (Narcissus, Daffodil)4”- 6”3”- 4”
Scilla3”- 5”4”
Galanthus (Snowdrop)3”- 4”3”
Tulip, garden6”- 10”4”- 6”
Tulip, species3”- 4”2”- 3”
 

Further Information

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Danny Lipford

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Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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