How to plant bulbs in grass

Spring bulbs add a beautiful splash of colour to grassy areas and provide valuable nectar for bees early in the year. Plant them in autumn and they’ll flower every spring for many years to come.

Plant an array of bulbs, from snowdrops to tulips and grape hyacinths, to brighten your lawn throughout spring

Quick facts

  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs in autumn
  • Leave the grass unmown before and after flowering
  • Flowers attract pollinating insects

Getting started

Planting late winter- and spring-flowering

bulbs is a good way to add colour to lawns and grass verges. Their early blooms, at a time when flowers can seem scarce, are appreciated by both gardeners and pollinating insects. Planting in grass creates a natural looking effect, and many types of bulbs will set seed and spread, creating larger drifts of flowers with little assistance.

Bulbs that flower later in spring and into early summer, such as camassias and Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus are useful in adding splashes of colour in long grass and meadows.  

What you’ll need to plant bulbs in grass:

  • Spring-flowering bulbs, such as daffodils, crocuses, snowdrops, grape hyacinths

  • Bulb planter or trowel

  • Hand fork

  • Spade (if lifting areas of turf)

  • Cane or sharp stick (for planting small bulbs)

Top Tip

Bulbs should be planted no deeper than three times their height, in other words with enough room for two bulbs to be placed on top of them.

How to plant bulbs in grass in ten simple steps

  1. Buy spring-flowering bulbs in autumn

    Choose from the many different varieties of snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, grape hyacinths, scillas and small tulips. Select firm, undamaged bulbs with no signs of mould. For more on which bulbs are suitable, see our guide to naturalising bulbs.  
  2. Choose an area of grass

    Pick a spot that can be left unmown throughout the early part of the year and that isn’t walked on regularly. Most bulbs like a sunny spot. 
  3. Create a natural look

    Simply scatter handfuls of bulbs and plant them where they land. Make a hole for each one using a trowel or bulb planter, to a depth of three times the bulb’s height. For very small bulbs, you can make holes with a sharp stick. 
  4. Plant the bulbs

    Drop the bulbs into their holes, making sure the pointed tip is facing upwards. Then cover with soil, or replace the plug of turf removed by the bulb planter, and firm down. 
  5. Bunch together small bulbs

    You can plant several small bulbs into one large hole, to produce a clump of flowers. 
  6. Lift the turf if you have lots of small bulbs

    In a limited area, it’s often easier to lift the turf and plant into the soil beneath. Use a sharp spade to cut the letter H into the lawn, to a depth of about three times the height of the bulbs. Use the spade to slice under the turf, then roll back the two flaps. 
  7. Scatter and plant small bulbs 

    Lightly fork the bare soil and scatter bulbs across it, planting them where they land with the pointed end facing upwards. 

  8. Cover the bulbs over

    Put the flaps of turf back in place and firm gently. Fill any gaps with soil or garden compost and water well so the grass keeps on growing. 
  9. Avoid mowing the following spring

    Avoid mowing the planted area, to allow the leaves to grow and the flowers to open, bringing cheery colour to your lawn.  
  10. Start mowing after flowering

    Allow the foliage to die back and turn yellow, which generally takes about six weeks after flowering. Then you can start regular mowing. 

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