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How Deep to Plant Tulips Bulbs

How Deep To Plant Tulips Bulbs

Knowing how deep to plant tulip bulbs is an important step besides choosing the right location in establishing your tulips garden.

Having picked out a variety of tulip bulbs, you must be excited to plant them in the garden for spring.  Plant your bulbs immediately they are delivered or after bringing them home from the garden center.  If you choose to store them for a few days, make sure they are in a cool dry place.

Plant your bulbs in the nighttime temperatures between 40 to 50 degrees F.  Ensure that you plant them before the soil freezes to give them time to get established.  If you forget to plant them in the early winter, you can still successfully plant them in the early spring.

Tulips begin emerging from the ground in late winter, early or late spring depending on when you planted.  Mild winter may cause premature growth but the danger is not as great as it may seem.  Tulips can brave and tolerate cold temperatures.  The snow helps discourage additional growth protecting the foliage from extreme cold.

Where To Plant Your Bulbs

Plant your bulbs in an area that gets lots of sunshine during spring.  The soil should drain well so that the bulbs don’t get soggy.  They do not like shade and damp soil.  They will rot if you plant them in such conditions.

How Deep Should You Plant Tulips Bulbs?

Your bulb packaging should be able to provide you with all the information you need for planting.  But if not, this article will enlighten you more.

The required planting depth is based on the size of the bulb.  The general recommendation for bulb planting is to dig a hole that is 3 times the height of the bulb.

If your soil is sandy, you should dig deeper to prevent your bulb from drying out. Plant each bulb in an individual hole or dig a trench if all your bulbs have the same length.

Some tulip bulbs can be planted more shallowly about 4 to 5 inches deep while mid-sized ones like Tulipa Greigii are planted 6 to 8 inches deep.  Be sure that the variety you plant shallowly is not eaten by squirrels.

Tulip bulbs need to be spaced to give them room for proper growth.  Large bulbs about 2 inches in diameter should be planted 3 to 8 inches apart. Small bulbs of about 1 inch wide should be planted 1 to 3 inches apart.

Measuring The Tulip Planting Depth

There are a few tools that you can use to plant your bulbs the right way.  The bulb planter helps with measuring the depth of the hole before planting your bulb.  It has a ruler that measures and shows the exact measurements.  It is able to create a hole and then fill it up after planting. When you squeeze the sides, it releases the soil into a pile beside the hole.

You can also buy a soil knife that is great at digging holes in hard soils and doubles up as a ruler.  It is one of the most commonly used garden tools.

Measuring The Tulip Planting Depth

Bulb-planting augers are best at digging a cinch using a power drill.  But it can be challenging to dig cay or hard-packed soil.  Augers are a great way to plant bulbs in the grass if you are planting them on the lawn.

How To Properly Plant Tulips Bulbs

To plant these bulbs, dig a small hole and loosen the soil at the base.  You can dig an extra 2-3 inches to loosen up the soil.  This will help with root growth.

Add the soil back so that the depth is accurate, you can measure from the base of the bulb to see the exact size.  When you are sure it’s accurate, go ahead and plant.  Once you drop the bulb in, make sure you place it pointy side up.  In most cases, if you turn it to the wrong side, the bulb turns itself up.

After planting, top dress your planting area with a slow-release fertilizer like bone-meal or manure.  Water your plants thoroughly.

Dr. Earth GL61100518430 Fertilizer & Soil


If you plant your bulbs too shallow, they risk being discovered by squirrels or chipmunks.  They could also be vulnerable to dramatic changes in the weather that causes sudden thawing and freezing.

Their root system can also become overly robust affecting the plant’s development and its blooms.  If you plant your bulbs too deeply they may flower late or not flower at all.

You will also need to mind the spacing instructions as planting them too close together could lead to problems of the roots strangling each other out.  The plants may also starve or get dehydrated due to a lack of enough nutrition and water.