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How to Plant Tulips: Planting Bulbs for Success

January 24, 2021

Tulips: How to Plant Guide

There is nothing that brings in Spring like a mass of beautiful tulips growing in your garden. But How do you plant tulips? Are there techniques to. make sure they thrive, bloom and return? Here is a quick Planting Tulips Guide for any gardener, with some tips and tricks.

How to Grow Tulips 101

Before you plant your tulips

Growing tulips is not super difficult, but there are a few things you need to consider. Before you get started:

  • When to Buy Tulip Bulbs – In most zones, you can plant your bulbs in Fall. It’s best to buy your bulbs ahead of time (most suppliers ship in early fall).
  • How to Store Tulip Bulbs – If you receive or buy your bulbs and you are not ready to plant, store them in a dry, dark and well ventilated area.
  • Where Should I Buy my Bulbs? – There is a huge (literally) different between the bulbs you buy at your local home store, and ones you can purchase from a flower farm or online importer. You want to make sure you buy from a quality source, and we recommend you buy size 12+ bulbs.
  • To Chill or Not To Chill – most tulips need 5-8 weeks of chill at or below 40 degrees F in order to bloom. If you live in warmer areas where the environment will not provide this tulip chilling period, you will need to put them in your refrigerator.

Prepping your tulip panting bed

You have to provide a happy home for your tulip bulbs. What does that mean? Choose a well draining area, that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Here are some required steps for your tulip bed:

  • Loosen the soil with a tiller or garden fork down to 18 inches.
  • Add compost to give the soil a healthy texture and nutrients.
  • Fertilize with a 9-9-6 mix. Bonemeal is the best fertilizer for tulips and most other bulbs.

Planting the Tulip Bulbs

Tulips are fairly forgiving, and different varieties have different spacing and depth requirements. A good rule of thumb is 4-6 time the size of the tulip bulb in depth. As far as spacing goes, we like our tulips in tight bunches, and typically plant 1-2 bulb widths apart or 3 or so inches for a full look. You can use a bulb dibbler/dibble or a garden scoop for small quantities, or for larger areas, just dig a flat area at the required bulb depth.

Make sure you place the bulbs pointy side up to insure fast growth. Tulips will still grow if planted upside down, just a bit slower 🙂

That’s it. Wait for the bloom and enjoy!!