When Do We Plant Tulip Bulbs

  • Use chicken wire to cover planting holes, a fence, repellant spray, or container gardening to keep animals away.

Is there anything happier than a large tulip field blooming in the spring? The profusion of vibrant blossoms is a sight for sore eyes after a protracted winter of cold and snow. You may build and enjoy a robust tulip show in your own yard with these tactics and pointers.

How to Choose Tulips

Hybrid tulips make up the majority of the tulips you see in landscape plantings, as well as those offered for sale at garden centres and home improvement shops. For the greatest impact, hybrid tulips normally need to be replaced every year. (We’ll cover how to persuade them to return below.) When given the proper growing circumstances, species tulips will return year after year in zones 4 to 7. These have smaller flowers and pointier petals than hybrid tulips, and they are shorter.

Individual tulips don’t flower for very long, especially the hybrids. However, there are types that bloom in the early, mid, and late seasons at various periods. When buying, choose a couple cultivars from each bloom time category for a long-lasting display.

Where to Plant Tulips

For the best show, tulips need full sun, which entails at least six hours every day of bright, direct sunlight. They are also great additions to rock gardens since they favour quick-draining soil.

When to Plant Tulips

Fall is the best time to plant tulip bulbs. Prior to planting, the soil must have cooled from the summer growing season, which could occur in September in cold regions (zones 3 to 5), October in transitional temperatures (zones 6 to 7), and November or December in warm areas (zones 8 to 9). Use a soil thermometer to measure the soil’s temperature, and plant when it reaches 60 degrees F at a depth of 6 inches.

For tulips to bloom, they need to be chilled. Buy pre-cooled bulbs and plant them in December if you intend to grow tulips where the soil temperature won’t fall below 60 degrees for at least 12 weeks.

How to Prepare the Soil for Planting Tulips

Use Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Flowers to prepare the planting space for tulips by incorporating 3 inches of garden soil into the top 6 to 8 inches of native soil. Tulips will develop a strong root system in the fall thanks to the nutrients provided by the soil, which is necessary for a significant spring bloom. However, to get the best results from your tulips, you must combine the strength of excellent soil with just the appropriate plant food. For details on what and when to feed tulips, see “How to Feed Tulips” below.

How to Plant Tulips

Tulips should be planted in bunches of 10 or more for the best display. The pointed end should be facing up as you plant each bulb 8 inches deep (measure from the bottom of the bulb and add the depth of any mulch on top of the soil in your measurement). It is possible to place bulbs close to one another. Thoroughly water.

How to Grow Tulips in a Pot

In pots, tulips are simple to grow. The bulbs should be buried at least 8 inches deep, much like with in-ground plantings, so measure from the top of the container to a depth of about 9 inches, then fill the pot up to that point with Miracle-Gro Potting Mix. Put the pointy end of the bulbs in the pot (you can pack them tightly together). After thoroughly watering, cover with the potting mix. Move the container to a cool, dry spot that stays at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter before the first frost in your area. Bring the container outside to a sunny area when you notice tulips budding. Water the soil there. Once you notice green growth, start watering often.

How to Water Tulips

When you plant tulips, make sure to thoroughly water each planting space. After planting, give the plants one watering each week for the first month. Then, leave them alone until spring. When the leaves come out in the spring, start watering once more.

How to Feed Tulips

Apply Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed Rose & Bloom Plant Food in accordance with the instructions on the package once the flowers have faded. In order for the bulb to conserve nutrients for the following growing season, this will aid in promoting leaf growth. Every year in the late fall, feed for the final time (around the same time as you would plant new bulbs).

How to Cut Tulips to Enjoy Indoors

When the buds are still tightly closed, cut tulips. You should be able to identify the hue of the blooms despite the petals’ possible greenish tint. Put inside a spotless vase with room temperature water. Once cut and brought indoors, tulips will continue to “grow” (the stems extend). Simply trim a few inches from the bottom of the stems every few days if they start to get unruly. If you mix Miracle-Gro for Fresh Cut Flowers into the water and replace the water every few days, cut tulips will stay longer (compared to water only).

What to Do After Tulips Bloom

The best tulip flower display will typically occur in gardens in the spring that immediately follows the fall when the bulbs are planted. Once the petals have faded, trim the flower stalk back to the plant’s base to encourage species tulips to return year after year. After the bulbs have gone dormant, cease feeding them as previously mentioned, stop watering them, and trim back the foliage once it has completely turned brown. Simply pluck up the bulbs from hybrid varieties (which are not perennial) and compost them.

How to Protect Tulips from Deer and Other Pests

Preventing deer from eating tulip blooms is the biggest obstacle in tulip gardening, closely followed by preventing chipmunks and squirrels from digging up the bulbs. Planting holes or trenches should have chicken wire surrounding them on all sides to prevent bulbs from being dug up. (If you’re planting large sweeps of bulbs, which is how to get the best show from tulips, this is most useful.)

Deer are another matter. Installing a long (8 feet or more) fence is the greatest approach to keep deer out of the garden, but most people cannot afford to do this. Daffodil and Crown Imperial bulbs are not consumed by deer, so interplanting tulips with these varieties may help deter them. Alternatively, you may try misting a deer repellent on bulb foliage. In light of this, it is preferable to grow tulips in pots on a screened-in porch if deer are a significant issue where you live. This way, the deer can’t access to the flowers.

Ready to start tulip gardening? To learn more about a product, to buy it online, or to locate a retailer near you, click on any of the product links above.

When is it too late to plant tulip bulbs?

The best time to plant tulips was a question we posed to Ruth Hayes, the gardening editor of Amateur Gardening. Ruth has a plethora of knowledge thanks to her Royal Horticultural Society certification and many years of gardening experience.

She explains that the best months to grow tulips are in late fall and early winter, specifically November and December. It is too late for them to perform at their peak this year, but they should flower the following spring, so if you have any leftover from last year, you may still plant them in the soil now.

It’s not necessary too late to plant spring bulbs in January, according to Evie Lane, a gardening expert at Primrose (opens in new tab), but she emphasises that time is of the essence. Tulips can tolerate a January planting with ease, although they will bloom later than usual, she claims.

Evie explains that tulip bulbs should generally be safely placed in the ground as least six weeks before there is a chance of a freeze. But most plants show a great tolerance for being planted in the late season. There is a strong probability that your bulbs will produce passable flowers in the late spring as long as the earth can be dug and is not soggy.

Ruth adds there are still many of chances in the upcoming months to add colour to our garden later this year if you’d prefer not take a chance. Consider which plants you’d like to add to your garden, and if you’re stuck for inspiration, check out the newest garden trends for 2022.

If you’re lacking motivation, try to complete a handful of January gardening tasks each week. It’s less intimidating to walk outside and clean up the garden once you know what you’re going to be doing.

Can I now sow my tulip bulbs?

But you can plant bulbs as long as the ground is usable! If you can dig a hole deep enough to plant, you can plant bulbs as late as January. Till the end of January, plant tulips and daffodils! They will grow roots this way throughout the spring and bloom later than usual.

Is it possible to sow tulip bulbs now for spring?

Tulip bulbs can still be planted in the early spring as soon as the ground is usable if they have survived the winter, have some weight to them, aren’t dry and crumbly, or aren’t soft and mushy. To avoid wasting your money, it is worth a shot to try nonetheless! However, there is a warning! They are far more likely to have weak blooms or possibly not bloom at all if they don’t have the opportunity to grow robust roots in the cooler temps.

Vernalization, a period of cooling that encourages a bulb to grow and bloom, is required for spring-planted tulip bulbs for at least 14 weeks. Therefore, you could not see flowers until the following year at the earliest, if at all, unless the temperature is still holding below 50F when you are planning to plant. For people in Zones 5 and lower, who frequently still have enough chill to survive if they get them in the ground quickly enough, this could be good news. However, in warmer climates, pushing them indoors or purchasing pre-chilled bulbs may be your best option.

It’s crucial to remember that while forced bulbs enhance indoor aesthetics, the energy reserves sometimes become depleted during the process of blooming indoors. It can take a few years before you see flowers, if any, if you try to put them outside for future flowering.

Your potted tulips won’t be ready to go into the ground after forcing; they must first be acclimated. Do this by exposing children to nature gradually. Start by leaving them outside in the shade for a short period of time each day. Then, gradually move them out into the sun while leaving them out for an increasing amount of time. When they are finally ready to spend an entire day in the sun, they can join the rest of your plants in the beds.

Where should tulip bulbs be planted?

  • Don’t wait after you buy the bulbs to plant them because it was never designed for bulbs to linger above ground.
  • Plant bulbs in late November or December if you live in a southern region with a moderate winter. Prior to planting, the bulbs must be cooled in the refrigerator for about 12 weeks. (Bulb sellers frequently sell pre-chilled bulbs as well.)
  • Don’t wait until spring or the following fall if you forget to plant your bulbs when they should have been. Bulb types differ from seeds. Even if you discover a sack of tulips or daffodils that hasn’t been planted in January or February, plant them nevertheless and take a chance. Learn more about tulip planting in the winter.

Choosing and Preparing a Planting Site

  • Tulips appreciate a location with afternoon or full sun. Tulips like shade or only morning sun in Zones 7 and 8, as they don’t want to be overheated.
  • A well-draining, fertile, neutral to slightly acidic, dry, or sandy soil is required. All tulips detest locations that are very wet.
  • Strong winds should be protected from tall types.
  • Choose a planting location that is large enough to accommodate the spacing of 4 to 6 inches between bulbs.
  • Use a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches before adding a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost to the garden bed.
  • Plant bulbs at a depth.
  • Approximately three times the height of the bulb, or 6 to 8 inches deep. To loosen the soil and allow for drainage, dig a hole that is deeper. Plant 3 to 6 inches deep in clay soils instead.
  • Place the bulb in the opening, pointed end upward. Put soil on top and firmly press it down.
  • After planting, water your bulbs. Bulbs need water to promote growth even if they can’t stand having their feet wet.
  • When you plant perennial tulips in the fall if you intend to raise them, give them a balanced fertiliser. All the nutrients needed for a year are contained in bulbs, which are their own full storage system. Utilize compost, organic matter, or a balanced time-release bulb food.
  • Put holly or any other thorny leaves in the planting holes to discourage mice and moles if they have been an issue. Some gardeners use crushed pebbles or cat litter. You might need to take more drastic steps, such growing bulbs in buried wire cages, if voracious voles and rodents are an actual problem.
  • If you’re planting your tulips later in the season, don’t give up; just remember these suggestions.

How to Grow Tulips

  • Do not water when it rains frequently. However, you should water the bulbs every week until the ground freezes if there is a dry spell and it does not rain.
  • Tulips are wiped out by damp soil, irrigation systems, and rainy summers. Never purposefully irrigate a bed of bulbs unless there is a drought. Bulbs can perish in wet soil because it breeds fungus and illness. To promote quick drainage, mix in sand, shredded pine bark, or any other coarse material into the soil.
  • Apply compost every year to supply the nutrients plants need to flourish in the future.
  • Feed your tulip with the same bulb food or bone meal you used when you first planted it in the spring when the leaves start to appear. Water wisely.
  • Tulips should be deadheaded as soon as they pass, but keep the leaves on.
  • After flowering, leave the leaves on the plants for around 6 weeks. The tulips’ foliage helps them store energy for their blooms the next year. It is possible to trim off the foliage once it has turned yellow and died back.
  • Small kinds typically reproduce and spread on their own, however large varieties may require replanting every few years.

Depending on the kind, tulip blossoms can be solitary, double, ruffled, fringed, or lily-shaped.

Wildor “Speciestulips” are tiny flowers with a height range of 3 to 8 inches. More resilient than hybrids, they. They look best when planted as a carpet of colour and also bloom in the South. Lilac Wonder is a favourite of ours.

Triumph hybrids are the most common variety of tulip, being the single, cup-shaped tulip. Top selections:

  • The midspring blooming “Cracker tulip” has purple, pink, and lilac coloured petals.
  • With its brilliantly crimson blossoms on stems up to 20 inches tall, ‘Ile de France’ blooms in the middle of the season.
  • ‘Calgary’ has snowy-white petals and blue-green foliage, and it blooms in the middle of spring.
  • Tulips are often grown as annuals, however the Darwin Hybrid varieties are said to behave more like perennials and bloom for several years.

Tulips come in so many lovely varieties. Look through catalogues and try some things in the garden!

  • Did you know? It’s likely not the same bulb you planted in the fall if you pull up a tulip bulb in the late summer. Her daughter is there. The bulb is dividing for the next generation even as the tulip blooms.
  • Cut tulip stems diagonally for the longest vase life, then wrap the top two-thirds of the flowers in a funnel of newspaper and place them in lukewarm water for a couple of hours. The tulips will then last for at least a week if the stems are recut.
  • A few bulbs of the new tulip were so in style and demand in 17th-century Holland that they were worth roughly $44,000.
  • Tulips in red are a symbol of love. See more explanations of flowers here.