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Planting and Growing Tulips

Updated on May 2, 2016

For awesome April color in your garden

Tulips are a type of flower that originally came from Turkey (although they were really made famous by the Netherlands) and is a bulb that you plant in the fall. Under the right conditions they are perennial, meaning they will come back and flower year after year. They will also reproduce so that your tulip beds grow a little bit bigger each year.

Colorings for tulips are vast, with many different shades and tones available. There are also variations in how the flowers petals are edged (smooth or ruffled) and a desirable flower virus is responsible for some gorgeous, multi-color varietals.

The Beauty of Tulips

Roozengarde in Washington State.
Roozengarde in Washington State. | Source

Tulips in your Garden

There are a a lot of variations in the petals of tulips and the color options are seemingly endless, so there's a tulip for just about everyone! Be sure to check your growing zone to see if these beautiful flowers are suitable for where you live before planting. (Too cold or wet and the bulbs can rot or die over the winter). Although most often grown in the ground, you can also grow tulips in pots. They bloom in the spring, although just when can vary depending on how harsh the winter was and how warm the weather is in spring.

Being a bulb, planting tulips can be really fun as it's easy to put them in little groups, make a border or even just dot them in between other plants as accents. Just remember, if you want a big solid bed, that will take dozens or hundreds of bulbs, depending on the size you want.

Tulips make a great cut flower too. They can be used sparingly in a mixed bouquet or you can have a large bunch of them in a vase by themselves. If you are growing tulips for cut flowers, be sure and leave a good amount of stem on them when you pick them so that you can trim the stems a little bit every other day once they are in the vase. This allows the flowers to keep drawing up water and helps them to stay fresher longer.

You'll want a bulb planter

Esschert Design Dibber/Bulb Planter
Esschert Design Dibber/Bulb Planter

If you are really serious about getting into growing tulips, there's one main tool that you are going to find extremely helpful. Tulips are bulbs, so having a bulb planter makes things go a lot faster. They allow you to make the perfect hole for planting the tulip at just the right depth very quickly. Those fabulous massed plantings come from hundreds of bulbs.


Dig Up or Stay Put

One thing you want to do before you start tulip gardening is check your temperature zone. While tulips will do well in a wide variety of climates, in some places they will overwinter just fine in the ground and in others they will need to be dug up and stored inside to protect them from freezing.

It's important to know before you start planting lots of bulbs which strategy is going to apply to your tulips.

My Experiences with Tulips

Roozengarde 2
Roozengarde 2 | Source

If there's one thing I learned when I got to visit a tulip farm, it was that more really is better when it comes to tulips. Planted in just ones or twos doesn't look right at all. Tulips look best in a garden when they are in bunches or clusters. You may not have the room to do huge beds like in some of these pictures, but if you get different types of tulips, be sure to plant them so that all the bulbs of one kind are together in a smaller area.

Different types of tulips might bloom a little differently but overall if you plant a lot of tulips they are all going to open at roughly the same time of the year. This can make for a really dramatic garden for about a month, and then it might get really boring looking when all the tulips are done. If you just love tulips that might be fine, but if you like a mix, think about planting some patches with tulips and then put other kinds of flowers planted in the areas next to the tulips or in between the tulip patches. This way your garden will have different flowers blooming at different times of the spring and summer.

Getting Started in the Garden

Nancy will show you just what to do.

Tell us about YOUR tulips!

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    • schwarz profile image

      Rae Schwarz 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      @junecampbell: We didn't plant any in our yard, and then they started appearing. We are presuming we have some squirrels moving bulbs about from yard to yard. But they do also seed, so now that we have them, we'll get more one way or the other.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 3 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I live in an apartment, so my tulips grow in the park across the street! LOL I love tulips.They are one of my favorite flowers.

    • maryseena profile image

      maryseena 4 years ago

      I just love these flowers; but unfortunately I cannot have them in our zone. My zone envy is basically because of the inability to grow tulips and daffodils!

    • VeseliDan profile image

      VeseliDan 4 years ago

      I love tulips. I grow yellow and red ones and I have to say that these plants don't need a lot of extra care and they still look very beautiful.

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

      I love tulips and daffodils...Spring has sprung!

    • lisln profile image

      LorLinda 4 years ago from Denver Colorado

      tulips is one of my favorite flowers

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 4 years ago

      Beautiful pics! I LOVE tulips!

    • profile image

      supersiva 4 years ago

      Awesome tulips - Love them when your garden is full of tulips.