Flower bulbs add a pop of color to the landscape that is easy to plant and manage. Regardless of whether you have spring or summer flowering bulbs or both, well-drained soil, nutrients, and planting depth are important components for a good start for plants. A lightbulb planter is a foolproof way to get the right depth. This is important so that plant shoots don’t have to go too far to see light and to prevent tall plants from falling into the dirt. Using onion planters can take the guesswork out of planting onions and speed up the process considerably. This means your color display takes half the time but is just as beautiful.
What is an onion planter?
When it comes to planting onions, there are several ways you can do it. You can use a shovel and loosen the soil in the area to a depth of 20 cm, and then plant the bulbs individually or in trenches. You can also use a light bulb planter. These are available in different versions. You may be wondering, “Do I need an onion planter?” Onion planters in the garden are simply tools that can make the task easier and faster, but you can count on your reliable spade too.
The general rule of thumb for planting depth is 2 to 2½ times the diameter of the bulb. Packing instructions have more specific digging and planting depths. These are the optimal depths for the bulb and will result in happier plants that won’t fall over and can easily get through the soil.
Not only does using lightbulb planters make the task easier, but most also have measurements that you can use to judge how deep to install the lightbulb. Instructions for using a lightbulb planter depend on the type of device you have purchased. Some are manual and some can be attached to a standard electric or battery-powered drill. They are widely available online or in kindergartens.
Types of onion planters in the garden
The simplest lightbulb planter is a small handheld device. These usually have depth gauges and simply cored the soil to the level at which the bulb should be planted.
You can get one of these that require you to kneel at floor level or a variety that is suitable for standing. These generally have a footrest that you use to push the tool into the ground and cut a 6.5 to 9 cm (2½ to 3½ inch) hole. Some also have a plunger that allows you to release the bottom you just cut out back into the hole on top of the lightbulb after placing it in the cutout.
For those of us who like to work smart rather than hard, there are auger models. These are attached to a standard drill bit and cut a 5 cm long hole that is up to 23 cm deep. An auger is similar, drilling holes up to six feet deep, a level that is actually too deep for most lightbulbs.
Using a lightbulb planter
Using onion planters in the garden can be especially useful if you are planning a widespread color display and planting dozens or even hundreds of bulbs. Most don’t work well in clay soils, but work perfectly in loose sandy or even light to medium soils. Clay soils need to be worked as they do not drain well and should be hand-worked with lots of compost and some sand the first time to increase drainage and add nutrients.
The hand tools are pretty straightforward and require some manual pressure to cut out the hole. Drilling tools require either electricity or battery power and are often best suited for multiple plantings where crouching and kneeling while digging can be a nuisance.
For each planter, cut out a plug of earth, insert the lightbulb, and then either loosen the bottom of a plunger back into the hole or cover the hole manually. These tools make planting onions faster and easier than traditional spade digging, and get you on your way to a spectacular seasonal color display in half the time.