When Should You Plant Tulips Outside

  • 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 centers 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 favor 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 may I put tulips in the ground?

Anytime in the spring, starting when the soil is workable, plant the tulips outdoors. Wait until the leaves turn brown before removing them if they are still green. Pick a sunny area, preferably one that has little to no summertime rain.

Can I grow tulips in the springtime?

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.

Can tulip bulbs be left in their pots?

Comparatively speaking to other common flower kinds, tulips are rather simple to grow. But to master them, you need a little bit of information. Here are some frequently asked questions concerning tulip bulb planting and their responses.

Can I Leave Tulip Bulbs in Pots After Flowering?

Many individuals opt to plant their bulbs in pots to begin with and then move them to the ground once they bloom. However, you might be forced to keep your plants and flowers in pots if you live in an apartment or a house without a yard.

Thankfully, as they start to bloom, your bulbs will be perfectly good to remain in your flower container. Tulips are resilient plants that do not require a lot of area to establish themselves once they are grown. Because of this, keeping your bulbs in a large container will allow them plenty of space to flourish once they start to bloom.

To give your flower more nutrients and fertilizer once you see the first flowers in the container, we advise adding some fresh soil. The flowers will remain vibrant and healthy for the duration of their life if this is done.

What Type of Soil Should I Plant Tulips In?

Tulips may grow in almost any kind of soil, but they do best in loose, crumbly soil with good drainage. It is crucial that the pot you keep your tulips in has a good drainage hole to let out excess rainwater after watering because bulbs frequently decay in soil that is left too damp.

Sand and regular potting soil can be combined to provide the perfect soil mix for your tulips. When you water your tulips, the planting mixture shouldn’t stay excessively moist for too long thanks to the excellent drainage that sand will help to generate within the soil.

What Size Container Can I Plant Tulips In?

You will need a roomy container that allows your flowers room to grow if you intend to maintain your tulips in a pot or container for the whole of their existence. Plan to look for containers that are at least 18 inches in diameter and 15 inches in height.

Unfortunately, your bulbs could not survive planting if your container is too tiny. Tulips will grow well in your pot if you give them lots of room.

What Time of Year Should I Plant Tulips?

The ideal time of year to plant your bulbs in your container is in the fall. For colder climates, this entails September; for transitional climates, October; and for warmer ones, November or December.

If you plant your bulbs in the fall, your tulips will have plenty of time to blossom in the spring of the following year.

Will Potted Bulbs Bloom Again?

Tulips in pots often do not bloom again, which is a shame. You should remove your bulbs from the pot at the conclusion of the growing season, compost them, and then buy fresh bulbs for the next year.

Can tulips be planted at any time?

Is it still cold outside? Perfect. In contrast to most plants, tulips prefer it colder when they are planted in the spring. Although bulbs need time to root, they can survive if planted in the fall, six weeks before the first frost. You can start the season off well by planting in the late winter. In the hopes of a spring bloom, you can plant bulbs at any time during the winter, even in January or February. If spring is just getting started, you might still have time to plant your tulip bulbs before the weather becomes too heated.

Prior to planting, let your bulbs cool in the refrigerator for ideally 12 weeks. Select a somewhat shaded region because the soil there will be cooler than in sunny areas. The soil should be kept below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average nighttime temperature shouldn’t be higher than 40 to 50 degrees. Given this temperature range, planting bulbs in milder winter regions in late winter or early spring may be healthier for them! Your bulbs should be planted at least 8 inches deep, and while doing so, maintain the bulb moist.

Look After Tulips Properly and They’ll Reward You With More Blooms Next Year

Your spring garden will stand out with the help of tulips. Tulips come in a plethora of hues and shapes, making them one of the most widely planted flower bulbs in the fall. Although they are fairly simple to grow, you might wonder whether tulips return each year.

Are Tulips Annual or Perennial in the Wild?

Wild tulips can be found growing in arid, mountainous parts of Turkey, Iran, and Russia where they have adapted to withstand extremely chilly, snowy winters and scorching, dry summers. Tulips are perennial and will bloom each year in these circumstances. The duration of tulips’ return to the garden, on the other hand, will rely on the environmental factors. Rarely do our gardens provide the habitat that tulips naturally seek. You’ll probably need to provide your tulips with a little assistance if you want them to bloom each spring.

Do Tulips Come Back Every Year in the Garden?

Tulips need a dry interval before they can blossom again because they detest being overly moist. If the bulbs are left in a bed where other plants are irrigated over the summer, they will typically decay. Dig out the bulbs once the leaves have turned yellow and withered, let them dry, and then store them in a dark, cool area, such as a basement or garage, to ensure that your tulips will return and blossom again the following year. In the fall, replant the bulbs.

Do Tulips Come Back Every Year in Pots?

Tulips planted in pots will produce a stunning display, but they will also be under more stress than tulip bulbs planted in the ground. The majority of gardeners choose to treat tulip bulbs as annuals and plant new bulbs every fall because tulip bulbs that have been put in pots rarely bloom again.

It’s time to start making plans for your spring garden now that you are aware that tulips actually return each year. Explore our tulip collection for further suggestions and motivation. There, you’ll find tried-and-true favorites as well as our unique Elite bulbs.