Our Top Tips for Bulb Beginners

Bulbs can seem a bit intimidating but they are actually a simple, minimal fuss option for great early and mid-spring color. This week we have a few surefire tips to help you have success. First and foremost, pick out your bulbs now, while you have the best selection and then plant them in October once temperatures have cooled off.

Bulb Planting Tips

  1. Bulbs do best in a sunny to part shade location with well-drained soil. When you are planting, add in Espoma® Bulb-tone and mix in some compost or our TGP Choice Garden Mix. Dig the hole about 2 inches deeper than the actual depth needed. This will give them some nice soft soil under the bulb also. For example, daffodils like to be about 6 inches below the surface so dig down about 8 inches to mix in the amendments and then plant.
  2. Bulbs like to be planted pointy side up. A general rule of thumb is to plant the bulb about 3 times deeper than the height of the bulb and about 3 inches apart. If you are not sure which side is up, don’t fear. Just plant them on their side and Mother Nature will sort itself out. Your bulbs will still find their way to the surface next spring. The only exception to the 3 times deeper rule is tulips. Plant these 10 inches below the surface to help give them a longer life.
  3. If your garden tends to be on the damp side, try planting these naturalizing bulbs: Galanthus, Puschkinia, and Camassia.
  4. Water your bulbs once right after planting and then forget about them.
  5. After the blooms fade in the spring, clip the flower heads to channel energy back into the bulb and not seed production. Letting the foliage die back naturally also helps to recharge the bulb for next year.
Avoiding Critters
  1. Critters find many bulbs irresistible. Mix daffodils in with your tulips to help deter the critters from munching on those tasty tulips. They tend to avoid daffodils because their bulbs, flowers, and stems produce a numbing effect on the animal. Other critter resistant bulbs include Allium, Scilla, Chionodoxa, Galanthus, Muscari, Fritillaria, Eranthis, and Hyacinthoides hispanica.
  2. You can also apply Plantskydd® Repellent Rabbits and Small Critters to the soil or dip the bulbs in Ropel® Animal and Rodent Repellent and let dry before planting. For both of these products, be sure to follow the label directions.

Dividing Tips

  1. When bulbs have been in the ground for several years, you might notice that you have more leaves than flowers. It might be time to divide your bulbs. Once the leaves start to fade in the spring, you can dig some of the bulbs up and then replant them right away in a new location. Don’t wait until fall to replant.

A Few Favorites

  1. Alliums are one of our favorite critter resistant bulbs, growing in full sun to part shade. New this year we have ‘Summer Drummer’. It’s an eye-catcher producing 6-8 inch flowers on 4-6 foot stems. Great planted between Hosta, Peonies and Oriental Poppies.
  2. Golden Ducat Daffodil is a yellow, double flower variety with multiple layers of petals. It resembles a Camellia or small Peony.
  3. New selections of Lilium include Martagon Hybrid Lily, a long-lived addition to a sun or part shade garden with nodding flowers, and Rose Lily, with pollen free, fragrant flowers that have multiple petal layers.
  4. Fall blooming Colchicum ‘Waterlilly’ can be planted now and you will see flowers this fall. In the spring they have shiny oval leaves which will disappear late spring/early summer letting the flowers surprise you around the first week of September. Try mixing them in with a low growing sedum.

Aurora Location

2000 Montgomery Road,

Aurora, IL 60504

Phone. 630-820-8088

Naperville Location

25w471 Plank Road,

Naperville, IL 60563

Phone. 630-355-4000

Spring Hours

March 30-June 30

Monday-Friday: 9am-7pm

Saturday: 9am-5pm

Sunday: 11am-5pm

Memorial Day Hours

Monday, May 27


Growing for the future with
right plantsĀ in right places.