Drilling for Minor Bulbs

Saturday afternoon, I planted some minor bulbs I purchased at various times in various stores. Like many plant purchases, these bulbs just sort of end up in my shopping cart. The bulbs included Puschkinia libanotica (Striped Squill), Allium and Dutch Iris.

I’ve found the best tool for planting smaller bulbs is an electric drill with a wood borer, or spade bit, on it. You can easily drill a hole for the bulb in small tight spaces or around ground cover without disturbing nearby plants. You can see in the picture above that I have a new bit on the drill and beside it is an old bit I used a few years ago. It is amazing how worn a bit gets when you use it for planting.

This particular worn bit was the one I used to plant crocuses in my lawn. I got the big idea to do that one year and so ordered up 800 assorted crocus corms. Then I proceeded to spend an afternoon on my hands and knees planting them. I’d drill about 10 holes at a time, plop a crocus corm in each hole, then fill the holes with top soil.

I’m sure more than a few neighbors wondered what I was doing. Perhaps they thought I was trying to aerate the lawn by hand?

That first spring after I planted them, the crocuses all came up and were a nice bit of color in early March. My primary “lessons learned” was I wished I had not used yellow crocus because from a distance they looked too much like dandelions.

I added a few more crocuses the next year, but did notice that fewer of the original crocus came up the second year. And still fewer in the third year. I think the problem was that I had to mow off the foliage before it was fully mature, so there wasn’t time for the new corms to form.

Those first crocus were planted about six years ago, and the last time I added any crocus was about three years ago. I’ll watch with interest this spring to see how many (or how few) come up and bloom again.


  1. I wish I had known to use a spade bit when I planted my crocus bank. Eight hundred was a good start, but you're right, you've got to let the foliage ripen. Either that, or some critter is eating the corms.

  2. Kathy...I checked out your crocus bank, very lovely and spring like. The drill was a "hand saver", for sure.

  3. There is a small auger sold at Lowes or HD. about 3" in diameter and 2 feet long with the auger part maybe 8" long. Much easier to use because you don't have to bend down so much.

    Here's an example of what it looks like:

  4. 800 corms seem to be a lot. But as you can tell I'm not a gardener but I still enjoy the beauty of a well kept garden. Good thing I have children who have green thumbs so I dont have to do anything but sit & enjoy


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