How Many Bulbs Do I Need? Designing With Fall-Planted Bulbs in Small and Large Gardens

how many bulbs - tulips and daffodils

Tulips, Daffodils, and fall planted flower bulbs bring unparalleled color and cheer to the spring garden. The first blooms after winter are always a welcomed sight! As you plan for planting these easy-to-grow bulbs, you're probably wondering, "How many bulbs do I need?"

Whether you’re adding spring color to containers, or want to fill in your yard with color, the first step is to design your planting. See our recommended bulbs per square foot as a starting point. Take a look at some stylish planting scenarios, complete with the number of bulbs needed to create each look. Plus, get tips on how to make statement in your garden on a budget. Read on for some great garden inspiration!

Recommended Bulbs Per Square Foot

  • 6 Daffodil Bulbs per square foot. The exception to this rule are miniature Daffodil Bulbs, which can be planted 9 bulbs per square foot.
  • 9 Tulip Bulbs per square foot.
  • 7 Hyacinth Bulbs per square foot.
  • 16 Grape Hyacinth Bulbs per square foot.
  • 16 Crocus Bulbs per square foot.
  • 3 Allium Bulbs per square foot for most tall, classic varieties (like Globemaster and Gladiator). Smaller varieties (like Drumstick) can be planted 16 bulbs per square foot. 
Although our math is fairly good (for gardeners, at least), remember to check the bulbs/square feet information for each variety before planting.

Designing Small Gardens & Containers

Style 1: Small Garden Beds

How many bulbs can a 4'x6' garden bed hold? (4' x 6' = 24 square feet)

One of the most attractive things about Fall-Planted Bulbs for small gardens is that they take up such little space. If you're working with a tiny city garden, Fall-Planted Bulbs are an easy way to add big, bold color to the spring garden. They can be planted among your favorite perennials or wildflowers with ease, making it easy to pack in season-long color in a small garden bed.

As you can see, a small garden space can pack a lot of punch with Spring-Blooming Bulbs. Try mixing a variety of bulbs together for a display all spring long, including early Crocus, mid-season Daffodils and Tulips, and late season Allium.

how many  bulbs - small garden bed

Tulips planted behind Grape Hyacinth

Style 2: Containers

If you're looking for a big statement with few bulbs, containers are a great choice. You can also move them easily to fit your garden style for the season. Standard container sizes are usually about 1 square foot, so confirm the recommended bulb spacing for your variety. You can refer to the recommended bulbs per square foot information above, or on each product page. When planting in containers, make sure you give your bulbs enough room - horizontally and vertically - to grow and bloom!

how many bulbs - containers

 

Shop Fall-Planted Flower Bulbs For Containers & Small Spaces

  1. 'Barrett Browning' Small Cupped Daffodil, Narcissus 'Barrett Browning'

    The Barrett Browning Small Cupped Daffodil is named for poet Elizabeth Barret Browning, who penned the famous line “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” True to it...

    Learn More
    Barrett Browning Small Cupped Daffodil Small Cupped Daffodil Narcissus 'Barrett Browning'
    As low as $11.99 Sale $8.99
    Per Bag of 8
    The Barrett Browning Small Cupped Daffodil is named for poet Elizabeth Barret Browning, who penned the famous line “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” True to its namesake, this cultivar has been a beloved favorite since its introduction in 1945. Blooming in mid-spring, it is an early season delight with broad, crisp white petals contrast a frilled tangerine-orange cup. Winner of the Wister Award for outstanding garden daffodils from the American Daffodil Society. (Narcissus)
  2. Red Hunter Tulip or Wisley Tulip, Tulipa linifolia (Batalinii Group) 'Red Hunter'

    Red Hunter Tulip, also called Wisley Tulip, features brilliant red flowers around a black center. Starting Tulip season with a pop of color and blooming longer than most species tuli...

    Learn More
    Red Hunter Tulip Red Hunter Tulip or Wisley Tulip Tulipa linifolia (Batalinii Group) 'Red Hunter'
    As low as $13.99 Sale $10.49
    Per Bag of 15
    Red Hunter Tulip, also called Wisley Tulip, features brilliant red flowers around a black center. Starting Tulip season with a pop of color and blooming longer than most species tulips, its mid-to-late spring flowers are surrounded by narrow, upright, silver-green leaves. Plant at the front of the garden or in containers, where the scarlet flowers and attractive foliage will catch your eye. Winner of the RHS Award of Garden of Merit. (Tulipa linifolia Batalinii Group)
  3. Woodstock Hyacinth, Hyacinthus orientalis 'Woodstock'

    With deep plum blooms with a rich fragrance, Woodstock Hyacinth is a gorgeous addition to the spring garden. The warm purple blossoms will complement bright yellow daffodils and pair...

    Learn More
    Woodstock Hyacinth Woodstock Hyacinth Hyacinthus orientalis 'Woodstock'
    As low as $11.99 Sale $8.99
    Per Bag of 6
    With deep plum blooms with a rich fragrance, Woodstock Hyacinth is a gorgeous addition to the spring garden. The warm purple blossoms will complement bright yellow daffodils and pair nicely with jewel-toned tulips. Early-to-mid-spring blooms are known for attracting bees with plentiful nectar. Plant in the front of the garden or in containers to enjoy the sight and scent of Woodstock Hyacinth. (Hyacinth orientalis)
  4. Wild Woodland Tulip, Wild Tulip, or Florentine Tulip, Tulipa sylvestris

    Wild Woodland Tulip is an heirloom Wildflower Tulip, or Botanical Tulip, that has been cultivated for hundreds of years. With luminous yellow flowers atop burgundy stems, this tulip ...

    Learn More
    Wild Woodland Tulip Woodland Tulip, Wild Tulip, or Florentine Tulip Tulipa sylvestris
    As low as $11.99 Sale $8.99
    Per Bag of 15
    Wild Woodland Tulip is an heirloom Wildflower Tulip, or Botanical Tulip, that has been cultivated for hundreds of years. With luminous yellow flowers atop burgundy stems, this tulip will light up the mid to late spring garden and delight with a sweet lemony fragrance. Vigorous, long-lived, and relatively tall for a Species Tulip, Wild Woodland Tulips are a great choice for naturalizing in grassy areas. (Tulipa sylvestris)

Designing Medium To Large Gardens

If you have a larger space to work with, or even a hellstrip (the green space between the sidewalk and the road) in front of your small city property, you can have a lot of fun with a big display of Tulips, Daffodils, and more. We'll review four beautful fall bulb plantings with big impact.

Trench planting is an easy way to plant a large number of bulbs all at once, rather than one by one - a great technique for lare scale plantings. Learn More About Quick & Efficient Trench Planting

When planting a very large number of bulbs, we highly recommend choosing a mix of flower varieties that will bloom in succession, to make the flowers last throughout the season. You can plant a mix of bright colors, or go for a simple harmonious look. Our Fall Flower Bulb Collections help make garden design easy!

 

Style 1: Create A Flower Bed Beneath A Tree

Plant a curved area to frame a trees on your property. The added color is especially nice while trees are leafing out for summer. This planting features a mix of brighly colored Tulips for a big, enjoyable display of spring color.

how many bulbs - tulips

A big swath of Tulip bulbs makes a huge, colorful statement in the spring.

how many bulbs - tulips

Always plant the pointed ends of bulbs up.

how many bulbs - tulips

After: the rainbow of Tulip blooms frame this tree nicely.

Style 2: Creating A Flower Border

Create a big splash of color to add curb appeal and brighten up your yard! Perfect for bordering the edge of your yard, lining walkways, and adding color to fencelines. Come spring, the colorful blooms welcome guests and passerbys with a cheerful display. 

how many bulbs -  tulip planting

Trench Planting is a quick, efficent method for planting lots of bulbs!

how many bulbs - lining property

The spring display was fantastic.

how many bulbs - bouquet

You will have plenty of blooms to cut for endless bouquets!

Design 3: Round Bulb Spiral

A lot of gardeners like to get creative with their spring-blooming bulbs, and a popular way to do this is to create a bulb spiral. Our co-workers Hazen and Mary brought the spiral to life with  250 Tulip Bulbs, using two contrasting flower colors for interest.

 

 

how many bulbs - spiral

Design 4: Hellstrip Garden

We love how this customer turned her "hellstrip" lawn into a fantastic spring display of miniature Daffodils and Tulips. If you're looking to cut back on mowing and maintenance in your hellstrip, try planting perennial Fall-Planted Bulbs like these Daffodils and Darwin Tulips.

how many  bulbs - hellstrip garden

Make A Big Spring Statement In Your Garden - On A Budget

If you're looking to create a huge statement on a budget, here are some tips for creating big color for an amazing value.

  • Focus on grouping bulbs tightly in one small space that is easily visible. Tulips, Daffodils, Allium, and more are some of the most cherished blooms in the garden. And whether you're looking add these iconic beauties to your balcony, front garden bed, walkways, or anywhere in between, a big grouping almost always looks better than individual plantings. 50 Tulip Bulbs grouped in a small garden bed will create a much bigger impact than spacing them all throughout your garden.
  • Plant in containers: containers are an easy way to make a grand statement with few bulbs. You can also move them around each year to change your design.
  • Plant varieties that will multiply each year, giving you added color and bulbs for free! Some of our favorite varieties that naturalize, or multiply and spread each year, are Dutchmaster Daffodil Bulbs, Grape Hyacinths, and Dutch Crocus.
  • Add a little each year. If you know you eventually want your entire house lined with Tulips or Daffodils, plant a batch of bulbs each year until you've made it all the way across. Remember to choose perennial varieties so you won't have to replace bulbs each year.
  • Take advantage of our advance sales and bulb bulbs! Once you have a great garden plan, you can make the most of bulbs on sale or bulk purchases!

Shop Bulk Fall Flower Bulbs

  1. Red Crown Imperial Bulbs, Fritillaria rubra, Crown Imperial

    These majestic Crown Imperial plants create elegant focal points in the garden rising 2 to 3 ft. tall with enormous red flowers. An exciting, tropical and exotic-looking choice for n...

    Learn More
    Red Crown Imperial Red Crown Imperial Fritillaria imperialis Rubra
    As low as $10.65 Sale $7.99
    Per Bag of 1
    These majestic Crown Imperial plants create elegant focal points in the garden rising 2 to 3 ft. tall with enormous red flowers. An exciting, tropical and exotic-looking choice for northern gardeners! (Fritillaria rubra)
  2. Yellow Miniature Daffodil Bulbs Tete-a-Tete, Narcissus, close up with hyacinth

    Tete a Tete is the most popular miniature daffodil worldwide. Its fragrant, solid yellow blooms bring cheer to the garden in the early spring. (Narcissus)...

    Learn More
    Tete-a-Tete Miniature Daffodil Tete-a-Tete Miniature Daffodil Narcissus Tete-a-Tete
    As low as $24.99 Sale $19.99
    Per Bag of 25
    Tete a Tete is the most popular miniature daffodil worldwide. Its fragrant, solid yellow blooms bring cheer to the garden in the early spring. (Narcissus)
  3. White Prince Single Early Tulip

    Among the first tulips to appear each spring, ‚White Prince‚ Single Early Tulip produces stately crisp white flowers atop sturdy stems. Classic white tulips bring harmony...

    Learn More
    White Prince Single Early Tulip White Prince Single Early Tulip Tulipa White Prince
    As low as $17.99 Sale $13.49
    Per Bag of 25
    Among the first tulips to appear each spring, 'White Prince' Single Early Tulip produces stately crisp white flowers atop sturdy stems. Classic white tulips bring harmony to the spring garden, versatile and easy to grow in containers, garden beds, and rock gardens. Cut by the handful for fragrant, long-lasting bouquets. (Tulipa hybrid)
  4. Blue Siberian Squill Bulbs, Scilla siberica, Siberian Squill

    Vivid blue bell-shaped flowers emerge in early spring, sometimes even through the snow. This little wildflower easily naturalizes in woodlands and looks great around trees and shrubs...

    Learn More
    Siberian Squill Siberian Squill Scilla siberica
    As low as $7.99 Sale $6.39
    Per Bag of 15
    Vivid blue bell-shaped flowers emerge in early spring, sometimes even through the snow. This little wildflower easily naturalizes in woodlands and looks great around trees and shrubs. Pair with other early spring-blooming bulbs like snow crocus, snowdrops, and early-blooming daffodils. (Scilla siberica)
© 2022 AmericanMeadows.com All rights reserved