All About Tulips

All About Tulips

Learn everything you need to know about spring’s favorite flower — beautiful tulips.




Tulip Growing Tips
Tulips are a beautiful addition to your landscape and do well in beds, around the base of a tree and scattered throughout a flower garden. They are the easiest bulbs to grow, making them a favorite among novice and experienced gardeners alike.

Types and Colors

  • There are 15 different groups of tulip species, all with many varieties.

  • They range from solid colors to variegated (streaked) and come in a variety of heights and bloom sizes.

  • Red is the most popular color, followed by a deep purple that looks almost black.

Selecting

  • When purchasing bulbs, read the back of the package for information on variety, color, growth height, planting depth and growing conditions.

  • Many novice gardeners choose bulbs strictly based on the color of the flowers, which is fine as long as you adhere to the care instructions. If you aren’t sure, check with your local nursery or garden supply store.

Growing

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  • Tulips need approximately 6 hours of full sun per day, though some varieties can tolerate shady conditions and others extreme heat.

  • Airy, well-drained soil is imperative, as standing water can rot the bulbs.

  • Tulips should be planted in the fall about 6 weeks before the first frost is expected.

  • Plant bulbs 6-8 inches deep with the pointy end up, placing them at least 6 inches apart.

  • To plant a row of tulips, dig an 8-inch deep trench for them.

  • Be sure to water the newly planted bulbs, as this kick starts the rooting process.

Tip: Lightly bury chicken wire over the newly planted bed to keep squirrels from digging and eating bulbs. They can’t dig through the wire, but tulips can grow through it.

Care

  • Tulips thrive in climates that have a long, cool spring and a dry summer.

  • Do not overwater tulips. They enjoy dry conditions, and water can rot the bulbs.

  • When the blooms have died, remove the dead flowers, but let the foliage turn brown and die before removing it.

  • The plant goes through a reversal process, sending the nutrients from the leaves back down into the soil and the bulb, thus regenerating it for next spring.

  • Tie browning leaves down until they are ready to be removed.

Tip: If you live in an area with warm, wet summers, tulip bulbs can rot if left in the ground year round. After the leaves die, dig up the bulbs and store them in a dark, dry location until it’s time to plant again.

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