Planting Spring Flowering Bulbs

For color in the spring, you’ve got to plant in the fall.  Unfortunately, here’s a common scenario that we see all too often: novice gardeners drive around town noticing landscapes in April, green with envy because they are jealous over all the flowering spring bulbs they see.  Of course, it’s too late to plant them then.  You must plant them now.

Daffodils, tulips, crocus, and hyacinths are the most common ones planted for spring color.  Soil preparation is the key to success.  Dig the holes the depth recommended on the labels given to you by the garden center, but in general,

Tulips – 8 to 10 inches deep

Daffodils – 6 to 8 inches deep

Hyacinths – 4-6 inches deep

Crocus – 2-3 inches deep

Use a pitch fork and work in liberal amounts of compost.  Both are needed to provide maximum results.

For an interesting effect, try a foreground planting of grape hyacinth.  It’s vivid purple hue will dazzle visitors as they make their way to your front door.  Mass the bulbs; plant them in large numbers (10-25 or so) in one area to create a desirable result.  A few here and there just don’t cut it.


John Fech
Horticulture Extension Educator at Nebraska Extension
John Fech is a horticulturist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. The author of 2 books and over 200 popular and trade journal articles, he focuses his time on teaching effective landscape maintenance techniques, water conservation, diagnosing turf and ornamental problems and encouraging effective bilingual communication in the green industry. He works extensively with the media to extend the message of landscape sustainability, making over 100 television and radio appearances each year.
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