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How to Grow Flower Bulbs

Updated on November 22, 2012

How to Grow, Plant and Care for Flower Bulbs

Growing flowers from bulbs is a great way to expand your landscape without having to do the same thing over and over every year. Flower bulbs are perennials and come back year after year producing more and more flowers each year. Knowing how to grow flower bulbs properly is the key to success.

Flower bulbs are for the most part low maintenance and require very little attention as long as you keep them watered and fertilized properly and provide proper lighting. Below you will find plenty of information on growing flowers bulbs.

How to Plant Flower Bulbs

Planting flower bulbs is easy if done right. Dig a whole 2-3 times the size of your bulb. Add a little compost or potting soil unless you are using a very well-prepared bed that has rich soil.

Once your hole is prepared drop the bulb in the center of the hole with the point to the top. This is very important. Most bulbs need to have the point facing the top of the hole in order for the plant to grow up. If not planted strait up there is a good chance you will never see them sprout and if you do, they won't grow as well as they should. Plants need a little direction on which way to go. If you are planting a bulb that doesn't have a tip or an obvious top end then it should be no problem.

Once the bulb is in place fill the hole with more compost, potting soil or the soil you removed. Water thoroughly and keep soil moist but not soggy. Bulbs will rot if left in soggy soil.

Good Rule for Planting Flower Bulbs


Bulb Planters

Bulb planters are tool used to dig a whole, measure the size and insure the proper depth of the bulbs. Below are a few from Amazon that have high recommendations.

When to Plant Flower Bulbs

The Best Time of Your to Plant Flower Bulbs

When to plant flower bulbs depends on the type of bulb. Spring blooming bulbs should be planted the fall before. This insures they have settled into their new home and have time to build up energy before the Spring when they bloom.

Fall blooming bulbs should be planted around Summer time to allow them to be settled in prior to Fall and Summer blooming bulbs should be planted no later than Spring.

Discount Flower Bulbs on Amazon

Amazon offers thousands of discount flower bulbs. Their vendors include commercial growers, local nurseries and hobby gardeners just like you. Whether you are looking for a great deal, a large quantity or a rare bulb you can find it on Amazon or eBay.

How to Water Flower Bulbs

How and When to Water Flower Bulbs

Watering flower bulbs should be done immediately after planting and then continued after planting for a few weeks to allow the roots to grow. During Winter months bulbs go dormant and don't need any more what than what Mother Nature provides.

As soon as Spring arrives and bulbs emerge start watering weekly and provide about an inch of water a week. Be sure to water thoroughly and deep since the bulbs are usually planted 6 inches or deeper. Simply walking by with the water hose and sprinkling a little water will not do it. They have to be watered deep and well. This is why well-draining soil is important. It allows the water to reach the bulbs but also prevents the water from setting and rotting the bulbs.

Do not allow the soil to stay soggy or to dry out completely. This will rot the bulbs and cause them to die. Always water at the ground and do not wet the flower as it can damage bloom.

Tips for Buying Flower Bulbs

What to Look for When Buying Flower Bulbs

When buying flower bulbs most are labeled with their type of bulb, planting instructions and care instructions. What is not included is what to look for, how long you can wait to plant them and how you should store them. Here are a few tips for buying new bulbs.

~ Look for the biggest bulbs. The bigger the bulb, the more mature the plant is and the more blooms you will get.

~ Look for healthy bulbs. Bulbs should be firm. Bulbs that are soft, mushy or that crumble are not good quality bulbs. Check for mold, mildew and other problems that may prevent the bulb from being healthy. NOTE: bulbs will usually have an outer skin that will be dry much like an onion. This is normal. Just insure the bulbs are not dry all the way through and crumble when you put pressure on them.

~ When you get your bulbs home, if you can't plant them immediately, store them in a dark, dry and cool area. Under a cabinet, in a shoe box or somewhere else that will keep moisture, light and heat out. This will keep them fresh and prevent them from sprouting before they should.

~ If you are buying bulbs that are prepackaged in a bag that prevents you from seeing the bulbs, feel around in the bag and see if you can feel any large sprouts, mushy or crumbly bulbs. If you do skip that package and go to the next. A few small sprouts won't hurt but you don't want bulbs that have large sprouts already as those have not got the sun and nutrients they needed for the best start.

Dividing Flower Bulbs

How to Divide Flower Bulbs

Flower bulbs need to be divided. How often depends on the type of flower and the age. As flower bulbs grow year after year they produce more bulbs on the outside of the original bulb. These need to be divided yearly or every other year to insure a healthy plant, prevent overcrowding and to produce more bulbs for the rest of your garden. Dividing bulbs also help to insure a tidy flower bed that will keep a neat appearance. If you aren't interested in planting more flower bulbs in another part of your yard or don't have space in your flower beds then pass them on to a friend, sell them or give them to a garden club, school or other gardening organization.

To divide the bulb carefully pull the new bulb off the plant. As you can see in the picture, the new baby bulbs grow on the sides and can easily be pulled off much like dividing a garlic bulb. Be careful not to damage the original bulb or any sprouts. It's best to divide when they are dormant and have not sprouted though tiny sprouts will help you to determine where the new growth is and how much to take if you aren't sure. Be careful not to damage any roots when dividing.

Share your thoughts, ideas and favorite bulbs to plant.

What Are Your Favorite Bulbs to Plant?

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    • SoyCandleLover profile image

      BW Duerr 5 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Favorite? Truly, any one of them.

      In my gardens: I love Crocus that starts before the snow ends; Blue bells for the delicacy; King Tulips for the drama; My pink and Purple tulips because they are my favorite flower colors; mystery bulbs I picked up from a garden bed take-down job. :)