How to Plan you DIY Bulbs Project in the Garden

On this page, I would like to give you some ideas on how to make a beautiful garden design with bulbs. It’s really easy, if you follow the table and gardening tips below.

Step 1

Fist of all, have a look at the table below. For a beautiful garden, it’s important to know flowers’ size and time of blossom. Colors are important too, but it’s totally up to you, what colors you will choose.

Early Spring BloomMid-Spring BloomLate-Spring Bloom
Early Spring BloomMid-Spring BloomLate-Spring Bloom
Height: up to 8″
Yellow Mammoth
Jeanne d’Arc
Specialty:Anemone Assorted
Anemone Blue
Anemone White
Blue Erantis Hyemalis
Iris Reticulata
Scilla Siberica
Muscari Album
Muscari – Armeniacum
Allium – Ostrowskianum
Height: 8 – 14″
Tulip:Christmas Marvel
Golden West
Purple Prince
Monte Carlo
Daffodils:February Gold
Jack Snipe
Baby Moon
Blue Jacket
Delft Blue
Jan Bos
Pink Pearl
Splendid Cornelia
Specialty:Muscari LatifliumAnemone de Caen
Sparaxis Tricolor
Height: 14 to 20″
Tulip:Red Emperor
Orange Emperor
Pink Emperor
White Emperor
Yellow Emperor
Apricot Beauty
Assorted Doubles
Couleur Cardinal
Prinses Irene
Fancy Frills
Mount Tacoma
Texas Gold
White Parrot
Daffodils:Peeping Tom
King Alfred
Las Vegas
Mount Hood
Flower Record
Ice Follies
Pink Pride
Golden Ducat
Pheasant Eye
Yellow Cheerfulness
Height 20- 24″
Daffodils:Dutch MasterFortuneThalia
Tulip:Pink Diamond
Apeldoorn’s EliteDon Quichotte
Dream Maid
Golden Apeldoorn
White Dream
Estella Rijnveld
Pink Diamond
Estella Rijnveld
Pink Diamond
Red Shine
West Point
Specialty:Dutch Iris Assorted
Dutch Iris Blue
Height Over 24″
Tulip:Big Chief
Gordon Cooper
Bleu Aimable
Burgandy LaceCathanina
White Triumphator
Queen of Night
Red Parrot
Specialty:Alium Giganteum
Alium Globemaster
Allium Drumsticks

Step 2

Decide, which combinations of bulbs you want to use before you buy them. These tips will help you with it:

Tip 1: Combine varieties to vary the height, color, and dimension of your garden. Here are some successful combinations:

  1. Apeldoorn Tulips, Golden Ducat Daffodils, Muscari armeniacum.
  2. Lily Flowering Tulips – West Point, Red Shine, White Triumphator.
  3. Jeanne d’Arc Crocus, Iris Reticulata, Red Riding Hood Tulips.

Tip 2: Naturalize bulbs under and around trees. For example, yellow Daffodils under a white Birch tree, or blue Muscari under a Magnolia.

Tip 3: Mix bulbs into groundcover plantings for color. Flowers blooming against bordering perennials brighten any landscape design.

Tip 4: Interplant varieties within the same bed. Layer different bulb varieties according to their depth and height requirements.

  • Some bulb varieties can be used, varying the heights, to produce dimensions. For example plant Greigh (like Golden West, Plaisir, Corsage) & Triumph Tulips together (Red Riding Hood & White Dream).
  • Different Bulb varieties will stagger the bloom time as well as vary the height, and/or color. For example, plant Tulip Red Emperor with Scilla Siberica.

Step 3

As soon as your bulbs arrive or you bring them from a garden center, you will want to plan some design. These ideas will help you to:

Idea 1: Around Trees

Most suitable for alder, ash, birch, cherry/Japanese cherry, oak, and fruit trees. Do not plant under evergreen trees.

What to plant:

  • Very Early Spring Bloom: Crocus, Eranthis, Chionodoza, Puchkinia.
  • Early Spring Bloom: Amemone blanda, Muscari, Scilla siberica, Trumpet or Cyclamineus Daffodils.
  • Mid Spring Bloom: Large-cupped or Double Daffodils
  • Late Spring: Scilla campanulata

Idea 2: Naturalizing bulbs under and around trees.

What to plant:

  • Very Early Spring Bloom: Crocus, Eranthis, chionodoxa, Puschkinia
  • Early Spring Bloom: Amenoe blanda, Muscari, Scilla siberica, Trumpet or Cyclamineus Daffodils Kaufmanniana or Specie Tulips.
  • Mid Spring Bloom: Greigii Tulips, Large-cupped or Double Daffodils
  • Late spring Bloom: Scilla campannulata
  • Very Late Spring Bloom: Oxalis

Idea 3: Beds

What to plant:

  • Early Spring Bloom: Single Early, Double Early or Forsteriana Tulips, Hyacinths, Trumpet of Double Daffodils.
  • Mid Spring Bloom: Darwin Hybrid, Greigii or Triumph Tulips, Large-cupped or Double Daffodils.
  • Late Spring Bloom: Single Late or Lily Flowering Tulips.

Idea 3: Ground Cover

What to plant:

  • Very Early Spring Bloom: Single Early, Double Early, Fosteriana (like Red, White or Orange or Pink Emperor Tulips), or Kaufmanniana Tulips, Hyacinths, Trumpet Daffodils.
  • Mid Spring: Darwin Hybrid, Triumph, Greigii or Double Late Tulips, Large-cupped Daffodils.
  • Late Spring: Single Late Tulips, Scilla campanulata.

Idea 4: Borders

Almost all varieties can be used in borders. Keep attention on flowering heights, and intersperse bulbs with perennials. See our Size/Spacing chart. Early spring blooms will camouflage the unsightly foliage of the dying bulb leaves.

Step #4

Make sure that you follow all the planting rules and they are:

Soil and placement:

As a general rule, prepare your soil to a depth of 12″. This should insure for good drainage and allow room for correction of acidity levels.

Proper drainage can be achieved by mixing the existing soil with any type of organic matter. Humus is always a safe addition to any soil.

Acidity levels of 6 – 6.5 provide the best environments and can be maintained by adding lime for low pH’s (acidity) or peat for high alkaline sites.

Place bulb in the prepared area according to their spacing and depth requirements (See Size/Spacing Chart) . Cover with soil and water thoroughly.


Different regions of the country experience varying weather conditions. Spring-flowering bulbs are hardy and will do well in most climates.

For specific hardiness information, see the individual variety listing in the website which notes the exact USDA regional zones.

General tips are listed below for areas in the deep South and far North.

Northern Areas (USDA Zones 1-3):

  • Plant early (always before the frost sets in) and provide a protective cover (mulch, peat moss, etc.).
  • Choose sheltered sites that receive the warmest sun (southern exposures by walls, rocks or protected by other plantings).
  • Water immediately upon planting to start root growth. The more the bulbs take root, the more they can withstand the frost.

Southern Areas (USDA Zones 7-10):

  • Plant late. the soil needs time to cool down (60°F or less).
  • Request and purchase pre-cooled bulbs. These will be given the required cold treatment needed for root development.
  • Choose sites that do not receive mid-day sun. Less sun means lower air and soil temperatures which leads to better bulb production and longer-lasting blooms.
  • Water bulbs immediately upon planting to start root development.

More about regional zones you can read here: Plant Hardiness Zone Maps

Area size and space:

Suggested bulb placement, the standard spacing between bulbs, is listed in this guide and should be referenced when choosing bulbs. Reference is available with each bulb in this website to show the recommended distance apart per variety. These however are only a starting point. The exact number should vary depending upon:

Overall Desired Look:

The overall look that you are trying to create, more bulbs, placed closer together, will result in a fuller effect, viewable from further away.

Area of Planting:

The size of the total planting, the larger the site, and the fewer bulbs needed. Some books publish the number of bulbs necessary for a 1 square foot area. Note however that as the site gets larger, the common ground between the “1 sq. ft.” areas multiply and results in fewer bulbs per square foot needed overall.

For your convenience, the below guidelines shows the recommended number of bulbs needed for a given area. Areas are listed for beds of over 100 square feet.

Amount of
Square Feet
3″ Apart4″ Apart5″ Apart6″ Apart

Your landscape design with bulbs is limited only by your imagination. I’ve listed some suggestions below, but they are only the beginning – there’s an endless number of ideas and combinations you can create.