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.
There are few flowers as simple and sophisticated as a single white tulip, and 'Snow White' Single Late Tulip, with tall stems and deep green sword-like foliage, is quite possibly the queen of all. This late cultivar extends the tulip season in the garden and adds a touch of elegance and effortless contrast to your most creative spring color experiments. An excellent choice for spring bouquets. (Tulipa)
With clear purple tones, a delicate silky texture, and a versatile height, 'Purple Flag' Triumph Tulip proves that simplicity can be the most powerful tool in the gardener’s handbook. This mid-spring tulip with deep green foliage is your answer for easy, vibrant color pairings. Underplant with low-growing annuals, or simply provide a rich backdrop for other patterned tulips. A stunning cut flower. (Tulipa)
One of America's most popular tulips with luscious, soft salmon rose flowers tinged with light-apricot edges. Apricot Beauty's understated elegance is enhanced by its delicate, pale-green base. Beautiful in the vase and ideal for forcing, this tulip carries a sweet scent.