The Q&A Archives: Bulb Planting

Question: I need some advice on planting daffodil, tulip, and crocus bulbs for spring flowering. I have a couple of shady patches under a tree too - could I plant some bulbs there?

Answer: Spring flowering bulbs need loose, humus rich, well-draining soil. They won't grow well in poor or compacted soils. Prepare the soil prior to planting by digging in some compost, or other organic matter, to a depth of 6-8 inches. Most bulbs appreciate full sunshine when they're actively growing, so if the trees in question are deciduous rather than evergreen, you can plant bulbs under them, knowing the trees will be bare when the bulbs come up, and won't cast shade on the foliage of the bulbs. Some trees have lots of roots close to the surface of the soil. If that's the case with your trees, the bulbs won't be able to compete with the tree roots. Dig down under the tree to see how occupied (or vacant) the soil is before planting bulbs there. Bulbs look best when they're massed. If you line them up like soldiers, they'll look out of place. When planting, dig a large enough area to scatter the bulbs. Then dig each one in to the proper depth, and cover with soil. After all the bulbs are planted, cover the area with several inches of compost. As the compost decomposes it will provide nutrients to the growing bulbs. Plant crocus bulbs 3-4 inches deep, tulips and daffodils 4-6 inches deep.

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