Bulb planting


Use this activity to enhance your school grounds in spring and teach pupils about flowering bulbs

  • Estimated time: 60 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors
  • School term: Early Autumn, Late Autumn
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Maths, Science, Social Studies

Learning objectives

  • Develop, communicate and model ideas about the shape of the design
  • Select and use specialist tools for the task
  • Learn about the life cycle of bulbs


Use landscaper's paint, string or rope to plot the design.

Equipment needed

  • Bulbs
  • Trowels
  • Bulb planters
  • Dibbers
  • Kneeling pads
  • Gloves

Suitable bulbs include; Allium, Crocus, Hyacinth, Narcissus (Daffodil) and Tulip 

Please be aware that Hyacinth, Narcissus (Daffodil) and Tulip all cause skin irritation and are toxic if eaten. 

Step by step

  1. Ask your group to make a design in which to plant bulbs in your school grounds. It could be your school emblem or an image related to your locality.
  2. Spend some time considering bulb choice, you can look at books and catalogues for inspiration. Crocus are ideal because they are low growing and won’t get knocked or blow over. Discuss a bulb's life cycle at this point. 
  3. Mark out the design on the ground and calculate how many bulbs you will need. Check the planting distances for each type of bulb. Always add more in to make it look full.
  4. Use a bulb planter or trowels to dig out the turf. Plant the bulb at the correct depth, generally 2.5 times the height of the bulb. If you are being generous, put more than one bulb in each hole and remember don’t be too regimented.
  5. Cover the hole and rope the area off so it doesn’t get mown or trampled when the new buds appear in the spring.

The RHS recommends bulbs should only be handled by children under supervision and when wearing gloves; care should be taken that they are not eaten. Alternative (non-toxic) flowering bulbs should be used wherever possible, including Muscari (Grape Hyacinth), Allium and Crocosmia.

Hints & tips

  • Choose from a selection of spring flowering bulbs. Remember to check for allergies and ensure your group wear gloves when handling the bulbs and do not eat them. 
  • Grow bulbs in water to show their roots.