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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 a 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 footinformation 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

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

Our most popular Tulips, Daffodils, Alliums, and more are available in bulk for a fantastic value. Top-sized bulbs that produce large, impressive flowers make it easy to grow high-impact mass plantings. For gorgeous home gardens or for large-scale landscape design, our bulk fall-planted bulbs are the perfect way to save on spring blooms!