Flowering bulbs are a fantastic asset to any garden. You can plant them in the fall and then, in the spring, they come up on their own and bring bright spring color without any extra effort on your part. A lot of hardy bulbs can be left in the same spot and will come up year after year, giving you low maintenance, reliable flowers. Sometimes though, even bulbs need a little help. Keep reading to learn more about how to divide flower bulbs.
When to Divide Plant Bulbs
How often should I divide bulbs? That really depends on the flower. As a rule, however, bulbs should be divided when they get so overcrowded that it’s noticeable. As bulbs grow, they’ll put out little offshoot bulbs that cluster around them. As these offshoots get bigger, the space the bulbs have to grow starts to get too crowded, and the flowers stop blooming as vigorously. If a patch of flowering bulbs is still producing leaves but the flowers have gotten lackluster this year, that means it’s time to divide. This is likely to happen every three to five years.
How to Divide Flower Bulbs
When dividing bulb plants, it’s important to wait until the foliage dies back naturally, usually in the autumn. The bulbs need that foliage to store up energy for next year’s growth. Once the leaves have died, carefully dig up the bulbs with a shovel. Each larger parent bulb should have several smaller child bulbs growing off it. Gently pry off these child bulbs with your fingers. Squeeze the parent bulb -- if it’s not squishy, it’s probably still healthy and can be replanted. Replant your parent bulbs where they were and relocate your child bulbs to a new spot. You can also store your new bulbs in a dark, cool, airy place until you’re ready to plant them again.
Gardening tips, videos, info and more delivered right to your inbox!
Sign up for the Gardening Know How newsletter today and receive a free download of our most popular eBook "How to Grow Delicious Tomatoes."
The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.
How To Make An Orchid Terrarium – Create A Beautiful Living Artwork
Plant an elegant orchid terrarium with this simple step-by-step project that will make a showpiece for your indoor garden
By Melanie Griffiths Published
Grow These 8 Lunar New Year Plants For The Year Of The Dragon
The Year of the Dragon can inspire us to grow with courage and vision – but which flowers bring the most prosperity and fortune? We round up the luckiest Lunar New Year plants
By Janey Goulding Published
Pretty Spring Bulbs For Pollinators
What are the best flowering bulbs for pollinators in spring? Click here to find out.
By Mary Ellen Ellis Published
Grow An Early Spring Flowering Bulb Lawn
Want a lawn that nourishes pollinators, never needs weeding, and grows more beautiful every year? We have the lawn for you. Click for more.
By Caroline Bloomfield Last updated
When To Dig Up Bulbs That Bloom In Summer
Click here to learn when to dig up faded summer bulbs of some of the most common ornamentals grown.
By Tonya Barnett Last updated
Corms, Tubers, And Bulbs That Are Deer Resistant
We love tulips, and so do deer! If you have hungry deer and you hunger for spring blooms, this article should help.
By Amy Grant Last updated
Care for Bulbs After Blooming
It's tempting to chop down the leaves after you bulbs have bloomed, but you have to resist this urge! Click to learn why.
By Amy Draiss Last updated
Best Spring Bulbs for Sun and Shade: Bulbs That Grow in Shade and Full Sun
Bulbs are beautiful harbingers of spring. Most flower bulbs thrive in full sun, but what if you have a shaded landscape? Read on for more.
By Amy Grant Last updated
Bulb Life Cycle In Winter: What Bulbs Do For Months Under The Snow
Dormancy in winter doesn't mean nothing is happening with bulbs. It just means you don't see any growth above the ground. Read on for more.
By Bonnie L. Grant Last updated
How To Plant Bulbs In Pots - Lasagna Style
Planting bulbs in containers is an easy way to create a gorgeous spring porch arrangement, especially when you use the lasagna method.
By Laura Walters Last updated