Q. How deep should I plant bulbs?
Before planting bulbs, carefully note which end is up. The up end is usually pointed, compared with the root end which often looks like the base of an onion. (Even bulbs planted upside down will usually come up.)
Plant tulips and daffodils so that their tops are about 5-6 inches below the surface of the soil. (Plant tulips slightly deeper in sandy soils.) Plant smaller bulbs (such as scillas, Chionodoxas, grape hyacinths, snowdrops and any others that are about 1 in. or less in diameter) so that their tops are about 2-3 inches below the soil surface. (As a general rule, plant bulbs so that the soil above the top of the bulb is about two or three times the diameter of the bulb.) Here is a handy planting guide for bulbs:
Planting Depths for Spring Bulbs:
- Allium (wild onion): 8 inches
- Crocus (crocus): 3 inches
- Narcissus (daffodil): 6 inches
- Hyacinthus (hyacinth): 7 inches
- Muscari (grape hyacinth): 3 inches
- Scilla (Siberian squill): 3 inches
- Galanthus (snowdrop): 3 inches
- Tulipa (tulips): 6 inches
Space large bulbs about 4-6 inches apart. This provides them with enough space to grow for two or three years before they need to be divided. Space crocuses and grape hyacinths about 2-3 inches apart, and space smaller bulbs 1-2 inches apart. For naturalized plantings, space daffodils at least 10 inches apart and set small bulbs at a rate of about 20 per square foot. Smaller bulbs are much more effective when planted in masses rather than individually.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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