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Gardening 101: How to Plant a Bulb

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Gardening 101: How to Plant a Bulb

October 25, 2019

October is the month to plant spring-blooming bulbs. Which end goes up and how deep should you plant a tulip? We explain the basics:

Photography by John Merkl for Gardenista.

Q: When should I plant fall bulbs?

fall bulbs tulips hyacinths daffodils

A: Plant spring-blooming bulbs—such as hyacinths, tulips, and daffodils—in October, before the ground freezes.

Q: How do I choose the best bulbs?

fall planted bulbs

A: The best bulbs are fat and firm (not moldy or mushy).

Q: Where should I plant  bulbs in the garden?

dig hole in garden for fall bulbs

A: Pick a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Looking for the right tool for the job? See 10 Easy Pieces: Bulb Planters.

Q: Which end of the bulb should point upward when I plant it?

plant fall bulbs with crown up

A: Plant bulbs with their crowns up and roots down.

Q: How deep should I plant fall bulbs?

tape measure in garden

A: Measure the height of the bulb and dig a hole three times as deep.

Q: How far apart should I plant fall bulbs?

plant fall bulbs like hyacinths tulips daffodils

A: Plant bulbs in clumps (not rows) and give them space to breath; make sure they’re not touching each other. Gill in the hole, tamp down the dirt, and water them to coax roots to start growing.

Interested in other bulbs and tubers for your garden or indoor space? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various bulbs and tubers with our Bulbs & Tubers: A Field Guide. Plus:

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