Placing a flower bulb upsidedown when planting makes the sprout start at the bottom and takes longer to break ground.

How to Use a Flower Bulb Planter Tool

by Mary Lougee

Flower bulb planter tools remove the soil in a plug for each individual bulb planting and alleviate the need for digging an entire bed with a shovel. The hand-held planter tool is the least expensive of the different types and involves bending over to make each hole, as does the most expensive drill-operated model that is the quickest method. A long-handled bulb planter is gardener-friendly and allows you to plant flower bulbs without the need to bend down.

Hand-Held Bulb Planter

Place a hand-held bulb planter on the soil where you want to plant a bulb. The bottom has serrated edges to dig into the soil and the top has a handle.

Press the bulb planter straight down into the soil to the depth needed. Use the depth gauge on the side marked in inches.

Twist the planter in either direction one-quarter turn. Lift the planter straight up and out of the soil. You'll see a soil plug inside the planter body.

Place your bulb in the hole with the round root side down and the pointy end facing up.

Hold the planter over the hole and squeeze the handle to deposit the soil inside into the planting hole. Tamp the soil down over the bulb.

Long-Handled Bulb Planter

Place the flat end of a bulb down in the center, bottom reservoir of a long-handled bulb planter.

Set the planter on the soil at a 90-degree angle to the ground. Lift the planter by the two handles, and drive it forcefully down into the soil. Step on the top of the hinges to drive the planter farther downward. The hinges resemble the top flat area of a shovel.

Place one hand on each handle, and pull both hands apart. Pull the planter upward, out of the hole. The planter deposits the bulb in the hole bottom and replaces the soil, all in one step.

Drill-Operated Bulb Planter

Put on safety glasses.

Insert the arbor of a drill-operated bulb planter fully into an electric drill chuck. Use a 3 amp or larger drill with a 3/4- inch chuck for extended use or heavy soil and turf. A 2.4 amp minimum drill is required for light soil.

Tighten the drill chuck to hold the planter in place. Plug an outdoor extension cord into a GFCI electrical socket. Plug the extension cord into the drill cord.

Press the end of the bulb planter about 1/8 inch deep into the soil while holding it perpendicular to the surface.

Squeeze the drill trigger slightly to start the rotation. As the bulb planter enters the soil, increase the drill speed by squeezing the trigger harder. Do not press down as the drill works, but allow the tool to do the work.

Release the drill trigger when you obtain the desired depth. Pull the drill and planter straight up out of the hole without turning it.

Place a bulb with the pointed end facing up in the bottom of the hole.

Insert a wooden dowel or stick in the bottom of the planter while holding it over the hole to release the soil on top of the bulb.

Items you will need

  • Hand-held bulb planter
  • Long-handled bulb planter
  • Safety glasses
  • Drill-operated bulb planter
  • Electric drill
  • Extension cord
  • Wooden dowel
  • Duct tape (optional)
  • Soaker hose (optional)


  • Irrigate soil that is very dry or hard the day before planting bulbs to make it easier for the tools to drive into the ground. Slow watering with a soaker hose to the depth of the planting hole is the best method.
  • Operate a long-handled bulb planter in the same manner as a hand-held model if your soil is dense and hard to dig.
  • Place a piece of duct tape at the required depth on a bulb planter with the numbers worn off for an easy visual of the depth.
  • The general depth to plant bulbs is two to three times the bulb height.


  • Use an outdoor rated extension cord with a drill-operated bulb planter.
  • Do not use power tools in misty, rainy conditions or while standing in water. These conditions can cause electrical shocks to the operator.

About the Author

Mary Lougee has been writing for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Management and a double minor in accounting and computer science. She loves writing about careers for busy families as well as family oriented planning, meals and activities for all ages.

Photo Credits

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