Trench planting is the easy way to plant large quantities of bulbs for a bold, colorful statement in the garden. Plant a mix of flower bulbs for a natural garden style. Or, you can plant bulbs in a formal, structured patter to create blocks of color by carefully planting bulbs. When designing your garden, spring-blooming flowers such as Tulips, Daffodils, and Hyacinths will make a bigger impact when planted in larger swatches, instead of placed in single spots throughout the garden.
Trench Planting In 6 Easy Steps
First, select your bulb varieties. Mike “The Seed Man” chose to do a trench planting in his front garden with hundreds of Tulip bulbs. You can easily do the same with Daffodils, Hyacinths, Crocus, and other spring-blooming bulbs.
Dig a large trench to the depth you need to plant the bulbs, plus 6-8 inches to loosen the soil. (Bulb packaging will specify the depth required for your bulbs.) A large shovel should suffice for this step, although if you’re doing smaller trench plantings you could use a spade as well. In poor soil or new garden beds, this is a good opportunity to add soil amendments.
Once you’ve dug the hole, drop the bulbs into the trench. Follow the recommended spacing per bulb as outlined on your bulb package. For informal plantings, you can drop bulbs in freely, and arrange with pointed sides up. For more formal plantings, carefully place the bulbs in patterns or rows ars you'd like. We recommend taller, later blooming bulbs in the back behind shorter, earlier blooming bulbs.
Carefully cover with soil. You can then cover the area with mulch, or even replace any grass that you may have dug up.
Water thoroughly to get rid of any air pockets.
Sit back and wait for a huge burst of color in the spring!
At Mike "The Seed Man" Lizotte's home, he dug a trench about 6 inches deep for tulip bulbs.
Tulip bulbs were planted pointy side up, with a range of colors mixed together for a colorful natural planting.
One of Mike's Tulip trench plantings in bloom.
Trench Planting: The Results
Mike "The Seed Man" Lizotte planted 500 mixed Tulips in five separate trenches throughout his yard and gardens. With a little help from his daughter Sadie, he managed to plant all of these bulbs in under two hours.
Mike was extremely happy with the results of his fall trench planting. That spring when the Tulips came up and bloomed, the created an awesome show of color in the front of his home. Neighbors walking by frequently stopped to comment on the gorgeous blooms. Since he planted a variety of Tulip mixtures, he had a nice diversity of shapes, colors, and sizes in his planting. The hundreds of Tulips bulbs planted en masse also made it easy and guilt-free to cut them for impromptu bouquets. Plus, since Mike chose hardy perennial Darwin Tulips, they come back year after year!
Try Trench Planting This Fall!
If you’re looking for a quick way to add a huge statement of color to your spring garden, trench planting is the easiest, most efficient way to do it.
Grand Darwin Tulip Mix is bursting with color. Beautiful combinations of red, orange, pink and yellow make this a must have for a sunny garden. Planted in large quantities creates a stunning vision, or place in containers on your patio for an added infusion of color. With all the different variations in this mix it makes excellent cut flowers for bouquets. Easy to Grow. (Tulipa)
Luscious, light pink flowers with a stunning butter yellow center make these the little treasures of your spring garden. Allow Lilac Wonder to naturalize and you'll have a front row seat to a cheerful spring show every year. Dependably perennial and deer resistant. (Tulipa bakeri)
Featuring 30 high-quality bulbs, the Warm Glow Tulip Collection brings radiant red, golden orange and blushing yellow blooms to the mid spring garden. Including 10 each of 'Parade' Darwin Tulips, 'Jimmy' Triumph Tulips, and 'Akebono' Darwin Tulips, this colorful group features easy growers that tolerate both full-sun and part-shade areas. (Tulipa)
Strong textural elements combine with masterful color blends in 'Apricot' Parrot Tulip, creating a silky, scalloped blossom with striations of soft salmon, light rose, creamy white, and green. This RHS Award of Merit winner also features a delicate fragrance that perfumes the late spring garden. At 20 inches tall, it’s a perfect container accent or cut flower. (Tulipa)