7 Tips for Planting Tulips

Ensure Your Success With These Colorful Spring Bulbs

There's nothing difficult about growing tulips. Inside every bulb is a beautiful flower that's already eager to bloom. Read on to learn how you can get your tulips off to a great start.

Good Soil Yields Better Results

Tulips look their best when they are grown in loose, crumbly soil that is easy to work and very well drained. The well-drained part is critical. Bulbs can rot in soil that’s too wet. In Holland, tulips are grown in sand, which guarantees they’re never in a soggy situation.


Plant Like a Pro

Garden designers know that tulips look best when they are planted in groups of 50 or more bulbs. Plan on 9 to 12 bulbs per square foot. For a full look, put 2" to 3" of space between the bulbs. Using a 4" spacing will stretch the bulbs, but not look quite as full.

To plant a lot of bulbs fast, dig out the entire planting area to a depth of 6 to 8” and pile the soil on a tarp nearby. Position the bulbs in the hole and then slide the soil off the tarp to cover them.


Stretch the Season with Different Types of Tulips

Some tulips bloom just after the crocuses and others flower right before the peonies. If you choose varieties with different bloom times, you can have tulips flowering for six weeks. To learn which types bloom when, read: Tulips by Bloom Time.


Give Them a Sunny Spot

If possible, plant the bulbs in full sun. This will help your tulips attain their maximum height and flower size. Tulips also perform well in half-day sun and beneath deciduous trees. In warm climates, the flowers will last longer if they are shielded from hot afternoon sun.


Switch Up the Planting Locations

Tulip bulbs are susceptible to fungal diseases, especially when they are grown in a cool, moist climate. To minimize problems, remove the old bulbs after they finish blooming and plant fresh bulbs each fall. If possible, rotate planting areas, giving the soil a 3-year rest in between.


Plant Tulips Later Than Most Other Fall Bulbs

There are two good reasons to wait until November to plant your tulip bulbs. Cold temperatures suppress fungal growth, so your bulbs will be less susceptible to disease. If you have problems with squirrels and chipmunks stealing your bulbs, planting later also lets you avoid their peak hoarding season.


Be Realistic About Second Year Flowers

Tulips always look their best the first spring after planting. When soil and growing conditions are ideal, some tulips may bloom for more than one year. But in most cases you will get smaller flowers and possibly no flowers at all. For best results, simply remove the bulbs after they finish blooming and plant fresh ones each fall


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