With Tulips, care and attention to detail will reward the garden with a glorious spring display.
How to Choose Tulip bulbs
The Tulip bulbs should be bought in fall as they already have an embryo flower tucked away inside. This embryo is just waiting to begin growing in the spring. Because of this fact about Tulips, choose Tulips like any other bulbs.
Avoid any bulbs that are damaged, shriveled or feel soft, or whose papery cover is missing. Pickup plump, firm bulbs. When possible, check that the plants have been obtained from reliable growers, rather than from stock that has been collected from the wild.
It is best to purchase Tulip bulbs along with all other bulbs in late August or early September, but wait to plant them until October and November. Sometimes even December, if planted in mild winter areas.
Storage of Tulip bulbs
Tulips are so eager to grow that planting them right after buying will make them send their leaves up right away. This will only freeze them in the winter. Ideally, to store bulbs, put them in paper bags, not plastic, while waiting to plant them, and keep them in a cool place.
It is one of the known facts about Tulips that their bulbs should be kept in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. Place them away from ripening fruits, as the fruits produce ethylene gas, which destroys the flower bud within the bulb.
If there is no room in the fridge when taking care of Tulips, do not put the Tulip bulbs in the freezer, it will kill them.
Planting the Tulip bulbs in the correct location
The best time to plant Tulip bulbs is in the fall from September to December.
Plant bulbs in well-prepared soil with fast drainage. Avoid planting in locations that are prone to late frosts. Tulips grow best in full sun and not shade.
For putting them in a perennial border, plant the bulb in groups of ten, and space them a couple of inches apart.
Preparing the Soil for Planting Tulips
Care of the soil is important when taking care of Tulips. How to prepare the soil:
- Dig the chosen area and loosen the soil about a 12 inches deep.
- Add some compost or dried manure to the soil.
- Add some 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 granular fertilizer to help the bulbs grow.
- Mix the existing soil, soil amendments, and fertilizer, until it is all mixed together.
Planting Tulips Bulbs in the Garden
Bulbs are some of the easiest garden plants to grow, needing only a well-drained soil and some sunshine.
As a general rule, plant bulbs two to three times their own depth and around two bulb widths apart.
- Plant Tulips pointed end up and 6 inches deep, meaning 4 inches of soil above the top of the bulb. It’s important to plant bulbs with its top facing upwards. If unsure, plant the bulb on its side.
- Replace the soil after planting, breaking down any large clumps and firm in gently, making sure there are no air spaces around the bulbs.
After the Tulips bulbs are planted, water them thoroughly and then cover the area with a mulch to protect them.
Planting Tulip Bulbs in Pots
When growing bulbs in a pot, pick a container that is the right size and will complement the chosen bulbs.
While using a clay pot with a large drainage hole in the base, cover it with a piece of broken pot.
Fill pots with general-purpose compost, mixed with a handful of horticultural grit to improve drainage.
Bulbs in pots need more care than those in soil. Keep the compost moist and protect from frost by wrapping with bubble wrap over winter.
Cover with a piece of chicken wire to prevent squirrels, mice and voles from digging them out. Remove it when shoots appear.