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Beginner Gardening: How deep to plant bulbs?

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Forum: Beginner GardeningReplies: 6, Views: 144
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Lawrenceville, GA
(Zone 7b)

September 21, 2007
4:43 PM

Post #4001964

I have read varing things about how deep to plant bulbs, so can you all help me? I am going to be planting lilies (Oriental, Asiatic, Trumpet, and Tiger), tulips, daffodils, & hyacinths. Is there a general rule of thumb with how deep to plant them? I have read to plant them twice as deep as the bulb is wide. And I have a bulb planter that only digs max. 4" holes, which would lead me to believe the "plant 2 x the width of the bulb" is correct. I have also read to plant them 12-18" deep (which I think is ALOT). Can you all tell me the correct depth to plant these things, please?


Champaign, IL
(Zone 5b)

September 21, 2007
11:16 PM

Post #4003195

I've planted hyacinths and daffodils 4-6 inches deep...probably closer to four inches. They have done fine. I think some of the depth may have to do with how tall the flowers will get...I had some glads that were supposed to be like 8-12 inches or something like that so that they were anchored well. I'm new at this, but there's my 2 cents!

Breezewood, PA
(Zone 5b)

September 21, 2007
11:41 PM

Post #4003307

i plant all of the ones you mentioned about 6 inches deep and they do great for us, but i always thought that was so they were below our freeze line ... frost line ... so they didn't freeze solid in the winter LOL but it's a big difference from pennsylvania to georgia i guess, so for you it might be more of a matter of what Kristie said and it's based on plant height and how much support they'll need when they're grown. i don't think there's a general rule for ALL bulbs, since there are some that are different. like our irises, barely in the ground at all, even if we plant them 6 inches deep they migrate to the top. i'd probably go with the 4 inches and they'll do just fine.
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

September 22, 2007
1:55 AM

Post #4003760

I've always thought it was 2x the size of the bulb in general, but in colder climates I think you have to plant them deeper so they don't freeze or get heaved out of the ground as it freezes & thaws. I don't know if it gets cold enough for the ground to really freeze much in zone 7, so I'd probably try the 2x rule.


central, NJ
(Zone 6b)

September 22, 2007
4:25 AM

Post #4004187

Here's a depth chart, this should help.
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

September 30, 2007
9:39 PM

Post #4034434

Bulbs are normally planted 3 times the size of the bulbs themselves, the size is taken from the bottom of the bulb (root end, to the top of the growing tip, Collar) so if you have a bulb size off 2 inches, the planting hole will be 6 inches below the soil, there are as always exceptions to the rule, like some lily bulbs like to be nearer the surface, but deeper planting of those wont harm them unless the soil is too wet causing the bulbs to rot, for lily bulbs, it is best to dig the hole with a trowel or spade, then add some sand for drainage, compost/manure to the bottom of the whole as they are to be in the ground for a good number of years, to this I also add some food as it helps the bulbs build up a healthy food storage for the next flowering season, the difference between bulbs and other perennials are that a bulb is actually the food store for the growing/flowering and foliage, where as, perennials have roots to search further out for the food supply, after the bulbs Finnish flowering, snap off the flowers, but leave the foliage to die down naturally so this feeds the bulbs as it dies down, you will soon see the dead greenery and when it will easily tug away from the soil without lifting the bulbs up words, if you get hard frost, you can add a mulch around the soil to protect the bulbs from frost damage, scrape it away come spring if you like. hope this helps you get your bulbs planted before the cold wet weather starts to set in if you get this in your zone. Weenel.
Lawrenceville, GA
(Zone 7b)

October 1, 2007
1:43 AM

Post #4035264

Thank you Weenel!


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