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ALL ABOUT TULIPS

Tulips are the most colorful of all spring flowers. They are also one of the easiest flowers you'll ever grow. Just plant the bulbs in fall for flowers the following spring.

There's a world of beautiful tulips to choose from, in enough colors, shapes, sizes and bloom times to inspire every gardener’s creativity. Tulips can be planted in flowerbeds and borders, landscaped areas, containers and cutting gardens. Whether you plant them in groups of 10 or 10,000, tulips always put on an impressive show.

To watch our video about How to Plant Tulip Bulbs, click HERE.


STEP 1 - KNOW

START WITH A BETTER BULB

When you compare two tulip bulbs side by side, it's easy to see differences in quality. Larger bulbs (as shown at far left) contain more stored food energy and will produce stronger stems and bigger blooms.

Tulip bulbs are measured in centimeters around the "waist" of the bulb. Longfield Gardens supplies tulip bulbs that are at least 12cm in circumference. This ensures you will always get the biggest, brightest blooms.

Each year's crop of tulip bulbs is a little different, due to weather conditions before and during the harvest. Bulb size also varies by cultivar, with some varieties of tulips naturally producing larger bulbs than others. We purchase the largest, highest quality bulbs possible and back them with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. 


STEP 2 - PLAN

PLAN FOR SUCCESS

Sun and Shade: Tulips are remarkably versatile and will grow in sun, part sun or shade.

Hardiness Zone: Tulips are hardy in growing zones 3-8. Reference the USDA Hardiness Zone Map HERE.

Soil Conditions: Tulips should be planted in good soil that is well-drained and never soggy. Peat moss or compost may be added to help improve drainage.

 

WHERE TO PLANT TULIPS

ENTRYWAYS & BORDERS: Tulips will fill your yard with color long before most other plants have emerged from their winter sleep. Create a warm welcome by planting a bed of tulips along your front walk or in front yard flower beds.

CUT FLOWER GARDENS: Enjoy the fun of arranging bouquets of tulips for your home or to share with friends. Planting tulip bulbs in a cutting garden makes it easy to bring the freshness of spring indoors.

CURB APPEAL: Tulips look great in mass plantings and will attract the admiring eyes of everyone who passes by. The more tulips you plant, the better the show.

CONTAINERS & WINDOW BOXES: In the fall, you can replace summer annuals with tulip bulbs. Greigii tulips and double early tulips are especially good for containers. The bulbs will sleep through the winter months and deliver a burst of spring color long before you're ready to begin planting. In growing zones 6-8, the planters may be left outdoors for the winter. In colder areas they will need to be protected from extreme cold. Learn more here: How to Grow Spring Bulbs in Containers.

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL TULIP VARIETIES

STEP 3 - GROW

HOW TO PLANT TULIPS

WHEN TO PLANT: Tulip bulbs should be planted in mid to late fall, any time after the first frost and before the ground freezes.

DEPTH AND SPACING: Plant tulip bulbs 6" to 8" deep and 4" to 5" apart on center. You may plant the bulbs individually, or can dig out a larger area and plant a number of bulbs at once. Position the bulbs with the pointy end up and then cover them with soil. Fall and winter rains usually provide adequate moisture. Water only if the weather is very dry.

PLANTING TIPS: Planting tulips side by side in a single row looks stiff and unnatural. For best results, plant informal groups of 7 or more bulbs. Rectangular, triangular or oval patterns will make the planting look as full as possible and ensure the flowers are visible from all angles.

For a vibrant, long-lasting spring garden, pair tulips with other spring-blooming bulbs such as hyacinths, daffodils and scilla. Grow a carpet of color beneath your tulips by under-planting them with anemone blanda or muscari. Early spring annuals such as pansies and perennials such as primroses, dicentra, hosta and pulmonaria make lovely companions for tulips, and will continue to shine after the tulips have finished flowering.

To stretch the tulip season, plant an assortment of early, mid- and late-blooming tulip varieties. Learn about bloom times for tulips HERE. Composing different combinations of flower shapes, sizes and colors, will let you enjoy an ever-changing display of beautiful blooms. Our Bloom Time Chart makes it easy to plan for a succession of beautiful flowers.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE SPRING

Tulip bulbs develop their roots in the fall and then go dormant until early spring. Depending where you live, the leaves may begin to emerge from the soil as early as February and as late as May. Early-blooming varieties will appear sooner than late-blooming varieties.

The first thing you will see is the tips of the pointed leaves. Tulip foliage is very cold hardy, so you don't need to worry about snow or freezing temperatures. The flower buds usually appear once the leaves are 4" to 6" tall. As the plant continues to grow, the buds will get larger and eventually begin to show color.


STEP 4 - AFTERCARE

CARING FOR YOUR TULIPS AFTER THEY BLOOM

Will your tulips come back to bloom again next year? This depends on the type of tulip you planted and the growing conditions in your garden. If the bulbs do produce a second year of flowers, you can expect the blossoms to be smaller and fewer in number. The best way to guarantee an impressive display of tulips every spring is to plant fresh bulbs each fall.

If you treat your tulips as annuals, you can simply remove the entire plant, bulb and all, as soon as the flowers have faded. You can also feel free to cut your tulips for arrangements and enjoy nice long stems with plenty of foliage. Best of all, you get to try new colors and styles, and compose your own unique color combinations every year.

If you want to try getting your tulips to rebloom, here are some tips:

  • Plant the bulbs in a sunny spot with well drained that stays warm and dry from summer through early fall.
  • Once the bulbs have finished blooming, immediately remove the spent flower, cutting it about 1” below the bloom.
  • Allow the stem and foliage to continue growing and producing energy for next year's flowers. When the foliage has turned yellow, cut it back to the ground.