How Many Bulbs to Plant

Finish planning out your garden by learning how many bulbs to buy.

You’ve decided that you want to take part in bulb planting this year, planned out the types you want, envisioned the beautiful blooms–but just how many bulbs should you buy for planting? Whether you’re planting bulbs in the spring or working with fall-planted bulbs, the number of bulbs you decide to plant can affect the overall display once your bulbs begin to bloom.

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What to Consider

The first step in learning how many bulbs to buy is to learn how your bulbs should be spaced. For most, you can typically find out how far apart bulbs should be planted and how deep in the soil by checking the information on the bulbs’ tag or packaging. If this info is unavailable, however, a bulbs ideal planting depth is around 3x its height, and as for spacing, you can follow a simple formula.

When you’re working with larger bulbs, you typically want to include 5 bulbs per square foot (planting around 6’’ apart). If the bulbs are smaller, on the other hand, you’ll want to plant between 8-10 bulbs per square foot (spaced about 3’’ to 4’’ apart). Next up, is to figure out the square footage of the entire space you’ll be working with by multiplying the length of your garden by the width (in feet). Now, take that number (your square footage) and multiply it by the number of bulbs recommended per square foot and you’ll have a great idea of how many bulbs to buy.

It’s also helpful to take note of whether your bulb type is a perennial, an annual, or grows like an annual depending on where you live, as this can sometimes affect the spacing. The spacing guidance above could work for annuals and still create a decent display, but since annuals only last 1 growing season they tend to create a more impressive display when planted closer together–sometimes almost touching. Perennials, on the other hand, have the potential to spread throughout the coming years, so work better if they’re spaced a bit further apart.

Additionally, if you’re looking for a garden that contains clusters of different flowers, a good rule of thumb to achieve the most impactful display is to plant at least 12 bulbs of the same variety grouped together.

For a full rundown on how to plant bulbs, check out our full guide on the planting process.

What You’ll Need:

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Get started with the best tools for planting bulbs.

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What You’ll Need:

(5 Recomended)

Get started with the best tools for planting bulbs.

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What to Do If You Still Have Questions?

If you still have questions about how many bulbs to buy, we’re here to help. Chat live with a Greendigs team member on our website or shoot us an email at [email protected].

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