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Tulip Bulbs - Planting Tulips

Updated on May 31, 2012

Planting Tulip Bulbs

Tulips are a beautiful addition to your garden so long as you have good drainage and lots of sun in your area!

Tulips will continue to bloom every Spring dependably reducing how much work you have to do every year to keep your garden looking great!

Tulips are great to grow in your garden or if you do not have a garden that you are able to plant them or are short on space you'll be happy to know that tulips are also great to grow in containers so long as you have enough growing space and are taken care of properly. You will learn about how to grow tulips in pots below.


How to Plant Tulip Bulbs

An easy way to make sure you do not plant your tulips upside down in that tulip bulbs look like Hershey's kisses, you want to plant the tulip bulb with the tip facing up.

How deep in the ground you plant your tulips will depend on what kind of weather conditions you have in your area.

If you live in a wet climate do not plant them deeper than about 3 inches, (up to 4 inches) and make sure they are in raised beds. You might have read in some books to plant tulip bulbs 7 inches deep but especially in the North-West of the US, since we have such wet winters if you plant them too deep they will rot right out. On the other hand, if you live someplace where you get a lot of snow you can plant them 7 or 8 inches deep like they recommend in books.

If you are planting your tulips in a container you will want ot make sure that they are at least 3 inches down and you will leave them in their container all year round.

When planting tulips you never want to plant a tulip bulb by itself, you always want to plant 3 of them in a triangle shape about six inches apart, or 4-5 in a container.

You can use a planter or if the soil is loose you can just set them down into the dirt. Make sure that you cover the bulbs up so there is at least 3 inches of soil over them.

Making sure that the bulbs are far enough away from each other you can dig up multiple small holes and place one bulbs per hole. Or you could dig up the entire area, make sure that you appropriately place the bulbs far enough from each other and then cover the entire area. If you are planting a lot of tulips this is a time saver. Just make sure that you stick to the rules of planting them for your area with how deep you need to plant them, as well as the space in between them and that you plant 3 together in a triangle.

A tip when choosing the color of your tulip is that red and yellow tulips come back more often every year than other brightly colored choices such as pink, orange, purple or parrot tulips. I find that it is still worth growing other more exotic varieties of tulips because even if they only last 2 or 3 years they are still a fabulous addition to your garden!

A quick tip, tulips should be watered in the summer to prevent them from drying out and keep the tulip flowers looking their best!

If you have deer in your local area mix daffodils with your tulips and the deer tend to stay away from your tulip flowers since deer do not eat daffodils. This will ensure that your tulips come back year after year again for you to enjoy.

Of course, if you have critters eating your tulips put them in a raised bed with some sort of mesh underneath and that will solve the problem.


Tulips in a Pot

When planting tulips in a container plant them about 3 inches deep and leave them in the container year round. In a container you can plant your tulips much closer together like 1/2 inch.

You want to layer the bottom of the container with pea size gravel or rocks of some kind to increase drainage. You could also mix sand into the soil if you would like. It is extremely important the area you plant your tulips can drain well or they will quickly rot away.

You should cover your tulips with garden compost on top of the dirt once you are done planting them in the container, for a harsh winter up to 2 inches of it.

Keep container grown tulips someplace they will get a bit of protection from the sun like near a bush.

In the winter you will want to store the bulbs (in the container still) someplace so they will not freeze solid, like an unheated garage. When you see the tulips sprouting in the spring pull them back out and give them some fresh water.

When to Plant Tulip Bulbs

When planting tulips you will want to plant them as fall is ending in your area, in some places that is September other places is as late as December. Basically plant tulip bulbs just before the ground starts to freeze, the month before it frosts is the perfect time.

Where to Plant Tulips

You should choose a place to plant your tulips that will get at least 6 hours of sun each day, they need a lot of sun so they can store a bunch of energy for next years bloom. Also that there is good drainage as if they sit in very wet soil or puddles your tulips will rot.

Tulips are really a must have for any garden, they are colorful, elegant, and a lot of fun!


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    • Cam Anju profile image

      Cam Anju 5 years ago from Stoughton, Wisconsin

      They are beautiful! Thanks sgbrown!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Tulips are so beautiful and one of the first flowers to bloom in spring! I always look forward to seeing mine coming up. You have lots of good information here, good job! Voted up, useful and sharing on my blog. Have a wonderful day! :)