Planting Bulbs in Your Lawn

What you’ll need

  • bulbs
  • trowel

step 1: Select the Bulbs

Bulbs that will naturalize in a lawn, coming back in greater number each spring, are called spring ephemerals. They bloom extremely early—often before the snow is all gone—and finish their growth cycle before you need to mow.

Select the earliest crocuses, glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa), winter aconites (Eranthis), squills, (Scilla), striped squill (Puschkinia), grape-hyacinth (Muscari), or snowdrops (Galanthus). Buy quite a few of each—a dozen to a hundred.

step 2: Plant in the Fall

Select spots in your lawn that will be in full sun in early spring and plant the bulbs in drifts, or groups. Because they are all small, a few flowers get lost in the grass, but a grouping is charming. One way to plant them is to throw the bulbs out in handfuls, as if you were broadcasting seed, then plant each where it lays.

Most of these small bulbs are planted about 5 inches deep. A small bulb-planting trowel does a good job of digging these small holes. Place the bulb in the hole with the top (often the pointed end) up and the roots (the hairy end) down. If you can’t figure out which is the top, plant them sideways—they’ll work it out. Fill the holes with the soil you dug out.

step 3: Spring Care

Early next spring, the bulbs will grow into charming little flowers. Feed them some water soluble plant food when the leaves appear, and again two weeks later.

If necessary, delay mowing until the leaves have turned yellow. These flowers are through growing so early that in many cases, they will finish before the lawn needs its first mowing.

The flowers will naturalize, reappearing every spring in greater numbers than before.