masthead map Directions at Google Local Facebook The Natural Garden Guy Blog Home
The Natural Gardener Garden Store, Vancouver, BC The Natural Gardener
plants gifts & accessories fertilizer & soil gardening tools living frames contact home

Article 13

Planting and Growing Bulbs

Bulbs are some of the easiest plants to grow, and they produce some of the most vibrant and showiest flowers. The main things to keep in mind when selecting and planting bulbs are when to plant, how deep to plant, how much to water and what to do after they've bloomed.

When to Plant

When to plant depends on the bulb. Some bulbs can be planted in the fall or winter, while others can't be planted until spring or summer. When you buy your bulbs, look on the packaging for the ideal time to plant. In general, spring-flowering bulbs are planted in the fall; summer-flowering bulbs are planted in the spring; and fall-flowering bulbs are planted n the summer.

How Deep to Plant

Again, how deep to plant depends on the bulb. It's important to plant bulbs at the correct depth for optimum performance. The packaging will tell you how deep to plant your bulbs. I prefer not to plant bulbs touching, so that if one gets rotten or mildews, it doesn't affect any others nearby. However, I do tend to plant bulbs in masses, or groups, in a wide hole, for a solid splash of colour when they bloom.

Guidelines for some popular bulbs:

Hyacinths - 6 to 8 inches
Tulips - 4 to 6 inches
Daffodils - 3 to 4 inches
Freesias - 2 to 3 inches
Lilies - 0 to 2 inches
Crocuses - 0 to 2 inches

How Much to Water

For most bulbs, it's enough to water them well when you plant them and then not at all again until they've started to poke through the dirt and later bloom. In colder areas, or dry areas, you may want to cover the planting area with a layer of mulch to protect the bulbs from extreme cold and help retain water.


There is not too much that bothers bulbs. However, there is one small animal that does like to cause havoc in the garden, the squirrel. Tulip bulbs are one of the squirrels favourite foods. To counteract their predations you can place chicken wire over the area that the bulbs are planted in or place thorny branches from roses over the area. Slugs and sometimes aphids can also be a problem. To control slugs use Safers slug bait. It is non-toxic to other animals. To control aphids either spray them off with water or use an insecticidal soap.

They've Bloomed - Now What?

Don't cut back your bulbs or pull them out of the ground! It's fine to cut the flowers to bring them indoors, but leave the foliage to wilt and turn brown. The bulbs need this to nourish themselves and recharge for next season. Do cut off the faded flowers, so that the bulb can conserve its energy. Many bulbs will come back year after year if left to rejuvenate in this way. I sometimes fertilize my bulbs once, too, for some extra nutrients.

site navigation

♦ plants ♦ gifts & accessories ♦ fertilizer & soil ♦ gardening tools ♦ living frames ♦ articles ♦ plant of the month ♦ newsletter ♦ natural garden guy blog ♦ links & resources ♦ sitemap ♦ contact ♦ privacy policy ♦ home


Subscribe to our Free Monthly Newsletter
* Email
* First Name
* Last Name
* = Required Field
We will never rent, sell or give away your information.

gifts & accessories
fertilizer & soil
gardening tools
living frames
plant of the month
natural garden guy blog
links & resources
privacy policy

› A Checklist of Things To Do in the November Garden
› Poinsettia Care in the Home
› Fall Clean-up
› Fall Planting of Trees, Shrubs and Perennials
› Planting Perennials
› A Checklist of Things To Do in the December Garden
› January To Do List
› Fall Planting
› Growing Aloe Plants
› Pruning your Clematis
› Hedges
› Growing Jade Plants
› Planting and Growing Bulbs
› Pleione Formosana
› Caring for Sarracenia - North American Pitcher Plants
› Caring for the Venus Fly Trap - Dionaea muscipula
› Growing Winter Heather
and many more
Find us on Facebook

Find us on LinkedIn

Visit our blog

Share |
The Natural Gardener
Garden Store Ltd.

4376 West 10th Ave.
Vancouver, BC V6R 2H7
Tel: 604-224-2207

Monday - Saturday:
10:00am - 6:00pm
Sunday & Holidays:
Noon - 5:00pm

Canadian Landscape Nursery Association Member
© 2002-2012. The Natural Gardener. All Rights Reserved.
Photography by Dean Sanderson Photography and Garry Campbell

Vancouver Web Design & Hosting by Wicked Web Design & Hosting, Vancouver, BC