Category Archives: Tulips

Blushing Beauty

10 Tips for Planting and Growing Tulips

Blushing Beauty Tulip

Before any preparation begins, the tulip bulbs are refrigerated for 6-8 weeks in warm climates.  Take care not to place any apples near them in the cooler and the temprtature should be around 45 degrees.  Do not freeze them!

Prepare the soil by digging down about 9”.  The hole should be large enough to hold 5-7 tulips or more depending on your design.  The holes should not be planted in straight lines unless you want them to look like soldiers!  If they are to be a border, they can be planted solidly or in clumps for annuals or other plants to be planted in between.  Plant the bulbs with at least 2” between them.

One tablespoon of bone meal or bulb fertilizer can be added to the bottom of the hole.  Cover the fertilizer with enough soil to allow the bulbs to avoid contact with the bulbs.  I don’t bother to fertilize my own, as I pull the bulbs out after they bloom.

Plant the tulips about 6” below ground level or more shallowly if he bulbs are to be removed after blooming.  The rule of thumb is to plant the bulb 3 times the base to shoulder height of the bulb (measured to the point where it narrows for the top).

Water the bulbs well.

Overplant with violas, forget-me-nots or other annuals on top of the tulips if desired,

Once the bulbs bloom some of the flowers can be cut.

After the blooms are finished, pull out the old bulbs.  If you wish to leave them in for future bloom, all the stalks and leaves should be left to die back.

When tulips are grown in fields, the heads are cut off just as they start to bloom to make the bulbs grow larger.  If this is done a second year, they are called “French Tulips” as they product very large flowers and long stems.  Once tulips are allowed to bloom, however, the bulbs divide into several smaller ones.  If the tulip bulbs are left in the ground, only the largest ones may bloom in warmer climates, but not all will re-bloom.

When I “cut” tulips as cut flowers, I pull gently neat the bottom of the stalk and remove the bulb as well.  Then it can be cut free of the bulb and a longer stem will result.

If the tulips are to be planted in containers, the bulbs can be planted closer together and up to almost touching.