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11. Starting Plant Bulbs


  1. About 4 healthy onion bulbs
  2. Hydroponic tub grower with perlite media
  3. A sharp knife and cutting board for the teacher

What is a bulb?

A bulb is a enlarged stem of a plant that contains the materials for starting a new plant. Examples of bulbs are onions and chives.

Healthy bulbs

A good bulb should be fairly heavy, free of deep cuts or bruises. It should not be shriveled. Check to see if your bulbs are healthy before they are planed.

Bulbs are used as food by many animals such as squirrels and mice. This can often be a problem when planting bulbs in the garden soil. However, it would not be a problem if planted in a protected hydroponic grower.

A bulb has a root area at the bottom which is usually the wider end. There is a layered fleshy part above the root area that serves as food for the growing plant.

It you make a cut through the center of a bulb, from top to bottom, you should see a small plant starting just above the root area. The surrounding layers should form into leaves as the center part shoots up above the ground.


The students should plant the bulbs in the hydroponic tub grower.

Most bulbs are planted much deeper than seeds. A normal depth is about 3 inches.

It can take from 4 to 6 weeks for roots to form in soil, how long does it take in hydroponics?

Hyacinths can be grown with no soil. Do you know where they get their food?

Revised: 1 May 2016
Copyright © 2016 Institute for Simplified Hydroponics