Planting Bulbs

By Ellen Brown


When is the best time to plant tulip, lily, crocus and iris bulbs? I ordered about 60 of these bulbs and they said they are fall harvest. Does that mean to plant them in the fall? They are supposed to bloom in the spring, but will the grow during the winter? Will the bulbs be alright in the ground all winter? I've seen lots of iris around in the spring and they are beautiful, that's what I'm hoping for.

Hardiness Zone: 6b

Chas from WV



Tulip and crocus bulbs can both be planted in the fall, lily bulbs and iris tubers in the spring or fall. Iris tubers are planted just below the soil surface (about 2 inches), so if you plant them in the spring, the roots have enough time to get established and you stand less of a chance of losing them due to winter heaving. If you to plant them in the fall, give them plenty of time to establish their roots before winter (July-October).

Tulips are planted about 6 inches below the soil surface and look best when planted en masse rather than individually.

For crocus bulbs, dig holes 2 to 3 inches deep. If you are planting a lot of crocuses, dig shallow trenches. Leave 2 to 4 inches between bulbs.

Plant lilies in groups of three or five bulbs, with each bulb spaced 8-12 inches apart. Space the different groups of bulbs three to five feet apart from each other. Small lily bulbs can be planted two to four inches deep and large bulbs four to six inches deep.


All of these bulbs prefer full sun and nutrient-rich, well-drained soil.


About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at


Knowing Where Your Bulbs Are Planted

Depending on your location, you may plant many different bulbs at different times of the year. To avoid planting a bulb in a spot where there is already a bulb use Popsicle sticks to mark the locations of the bulbs when you plant them. I use colored sticks so I know which flowers I planted and where in the garden.


By Susan (07/01/2005)

By ThriftyFun


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