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Expert Shopper Lawn & Garden

Promote healthy bulb growth with these best planters

Which bulb planters are best?


Having a yard full of colorful flowers adds plenty of curb appeal to your house. Planting perennial bulbs that bloom for several growing seasons reduces the amount of upkeep for your garden. A bulb planter makes planting them even easier.

Bulb planters are available in several types, which determine how easy they make your planting process. No matter the style, they dig holes in the soil that are the perfect depth for healthy bulb growth. The top planter from Power Planter is popular because it’s easy to use and can power through most soil types with ease.

Handheld bulb planters

Soil-release bulb planters usually have a grooved handle that provides a grip for your fingers. They remove soil to dig a hole for the bulbs and hold onto the soil that’s removed. Once you’ve set the bulb in the hole, you can release the soil to cover it. A soil-release bulb planter is compact and allows for easy storage. It isn’t the best option for those with back or joint concerns, as usage requires kneeling or bending.

Dibber bulb planters have a pointed design that makes a hole in the soil which you can then add bulbs to plant in fall or other seasons. Instead of grabbing dirt like a soil release planter, a dibber twists itself into the dirt to create a hole, so you must manually cover the bulb with soil after placing it in the ground.

Spade/knife bulb planters are like a traditional garden trowel, but they feature a narrower spade section. They usually have a cushioned handle that’s comfortable to hold, so you can use it to dig into the dirt with a twisting motion to create your hole. A spade or knife planter is typically curved as well, making it easy to remove excess soil from the hole.

Long-handled design

Some bulb planters feature longer handles. This makes planting easier if you have back or joint issues because you don’t have to bend as much. A long-handled planter typically features a T-shaped handle on top and a spade or soil plunger on the bottom. To use a long-handled planter, place it over the area where you want your bulb and push down on the handle to insert the bulb to the correct depth.

A long-handled planter with a plunger on the bottom holds onto the soil that’s removed, so it can easily be replaced once you’ve added bulbs to plant in spring. A model with a spade on the bottom fully removes the soil, requiring you to manually cover the bulb.

Manual vs. powered

Many bulb planters are manual, so they need a good deal of hands-on effort and strength. If you aren’t particularly strong or have health concerns, it can be difficult to drive the planter into the ground and then lift out the soil.

A powered bulb planter attaches to a drill and uses the drill’s power to drive the planter into the soil. It usually works well in all types of soil, too, so your holes are always deep enough.


To make planting easier, some bulb planters have a ruler on the section that digs into the soil. This lets you know precisely how deep the hole you’ve created is. The depth of the hole can be important, depending on what sort of bulb you’re planting. This takes the guesswork out of how deep bulbs to plant in summer should be. In most cases, the ruler features measurements in inch increments rather than centimeters.


Long-handled bulb planters often feature a footrest so you can use your body weight to drive the tool into the ground. As a result, you won’t need as much upper body strength to push on the planter. This makes it less labor-intensive and easier for most people to use.


Some soil-release bulb planters offer a quick-release feature when it’s time to cover the bulb with the removed soil. You only have to press a button or pull a lever to release the dirt, so you can finish your planting quicker. This is a convenient feature if you’re planting large quantities of bulbs.

Multi-tool bulb planters

Some bulb planters can perform multiple tasks in your yard or garden. These are usually the best value because you can plant bulbs, pull weeds and sample soil with a single tool.

Bulb planter cost

Basic handheld planters usually range from $5 to $10. For $10 to $20 you can get a durable handheld or long-handled planter with special features, such as a quick-release button. The highest-end, most-durable bulb planters cost $20-plus.

Bulb planter FAQ

How deep should I plant a bulb?

A. For most bulbs, aim to plant them at a depth that’s two to three times the bulb’s diameter. For example, if your bulbs are 3 inches wide, you should plant them 6 to 9 inches deep. Make sure not to plant the bulbs too deep, because they may suffocate in the soil and begin to rot.

What type of bulb planter works best for hard soil?

A. If you’re planting in hard-packed soil, it helps to use more than one type of bulb planter. For example, you can start with a dibber-style planter to help break up the compacted soil. Then, switch to a soil-release or spade-style planter to actually dig the holes.

Top bulb planter

Power Planter 3”x7” Bulb and Bedding Plant Auger

What you need to know: This is an effortless, efficient tool for planting bulbs. 

What you’ll love: It can attach to most drills. You can drive 6 to 10 inches into the soil, though some users have gotten as deep as 18 inches.

What you should consider: It doesn’t work as well in hard, clay-like soil.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top bulb planter for the money

Edwards Tools Bulb Planter with Automatic Soil Release

What you need to know: This outstanding manual bulb planter works well for lily, daffodil and dahlia bulbs.

What you’ll love: It holds onto soil during planting. The metal construction is sturdy. It only requires inserting it into the soil and twisting.

What you should consider: More effort is required when using this in hard, rocky soil. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Yard Butler Long Handled Planting Tool

What you need to know: This is an excellent bulb planter that doesn’t require kneeling or bending.

What you’ll love: The footrest allows you to use your body weight to drive the bulb planter into the ground. A cushioned handle makes it comfortable to use.

What you should consider: For best results, it requires wetting the soil first. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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