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 blossoms the following spring.

There are hundreds of beautiful tulips to choose from, in enough colors, shapes, sizes and bloom times to inspire every gardener’s creativity. Whether you plant them in groups of 10 or 1000, tulips always put on an impressive show.


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. A healthy tulip bulb should feel firm (not dry or mushy). A small amount of surface mold is normal.

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 during the growing season and late summer 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 our 100% satisfaction guarantee ensures your satisfaction. 


Plan for Success 

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

Hardiness Zone: Tulips are winter hardy in growing zones 3-8. If you live in a warmer growing zone, read How to Grow Spring Bulbs in Warm Climates. To find which hardiness zone you live in, consult 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. In areas with heavy soil, consider planting tulips in a raised bed.


Where to Plant Tulips

Entryways and 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 and Windowboxes: 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, planters may be left outdoors for the winter as long as the soil doesn't get soggy. In colder areas contain-grown bulbs need to be protected from extreme cold. Learn more here: How to Grow Spring Bulbs in Containers.


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.


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. For best results, plant the bulbs within a month after you receive them.

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.

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


What to Expect in Spring

Tulip bulbs develop roots in the fall and then go dormant until early spring. Depending where you live, you can expect the leaves to begin emerging 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 and not harmed by snow or freezing temperatures. The flower buds won't appear until the leaves are about 7" tall. As the plant continues to grow, the stems will get taller and the buds will gradually get larger and eventually begin to show color. It will take 4-5 weeks for your tulips to bloom once you see the first sign of green leaves.


Caring for Tulips After they Flower

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:

• Darwin hybrids, Emperors and species tulips are less prone to splitting and more likely to rebloom in future years.
• Plant your tulip bulbs in a sunny spot with very well drained soil. Tulip bulbs tend to split if the soil is too moist.
• Once the bulbs have finished blooming, immediately remove the spent flowers, cutting about 1” below the bloom.
• Allow the stem and foliage to continue growing and producing energy for next year's flowers. After the foliage has turned yellow, you should be able to remove it with a gentle tug or simply cut it back to the ground.

Tulips may be pre-ordered starting in May and are available for purchase through November. For best selection, reserve your bulbs early for shipping in early fall at the proper planting time for your growing zone. To see our complete selection of tulips click HERE. 


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