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How to Plant, Grow, Care For Tulips

Tulip is one hardy plant. It figures out a way to come and shoot out even if you plan the bulb upside down or at the wrong depth. This plant is known for a superlative performance across the world and even in not-so-favorable climate. However, tulips planted in early spring are one obstinate child and can give you hard time. But their showy and colorful patch in your garden is worth all the pain and effort. The light and alkaline soil is best for their overall holistic growth. For an ease of growth and less maintenance sort of cultivation, you can go for hybrids too as they are designed to give repeat seasons over the years but honesty, they are never the same year after as the stems get thinner and flowers get smaller. But if it is color of tulips you love, you can totally replant them as the color remains intact and as vibrant as in the first lot.

  • Tulips aren’t fond of wet and acidic soil type but with proper care they can even manage to crack it through as well. However, you might need to plant new seed each year.  If you are planting tulips in such soil, plant them in late November or early December.
  • Make sure the tulip bulbs are firm and free from any type of defect such as cuts, mold and bruises.  Check the bulbs for light brown color and onion peel like skin. 
  • As each bulb is most likely to produce one to four stems, you need to plan the garden bed accordingly.
  • It is always recommended that you plant the bulb within the one week of purchase as the vitality of tulip bulbs can really deteriorate with time when above the ground.

Hybrid tulips in containers can put up a great show for your garden. But they aren’t reliable either. For the initial two or three seasons, you might have to be very patient with them as they won’t return for the initial seasons despite providing with the most favorable conditions.  If planted in containers, the tulips can create a wonderful and eye catching show. They can also stay protected from pests like voles and squirrels as they can’t snatch the bulbs from ground.  

A container with diameter of 18 inches is ideal for the planting with a height of minimum of 15 inches. If you want to enjoy the splashes of color, you need to choose from the same class.  For container gardening of tulips, you can go for spring annuals such as Double Early, Single Early and Triumph that don’t tower much. Taller varieties such as Viridiflora and Parrot are good for ground gardening. Just make sure that you maintain proper gap between the bulbs and don’t plant too many of them.  The bulbs should be planted before the first frost, which is late fall. It is better to let the bulbs stay dormant for the winter months before their blossoming spring season. It is advised to freeze the bulbs before planting if the local climate doesn’t see freezing temperatures or you can get bulbs from a supplier that already have them frozen.

  • The depth should be about 15cm for standard weather whereas for mild winter weathers, the depth of bulb should be about 20cm or 8 inches.  
  • The gap between two bulbs should be at least 12cm.  
  • 1 tulip bulb should be planted in 90sqcm of area.  It is recommended to put at least 1cm of soil over the top of the bulbs.
  • The soil should be kept moist but prevent overwatering of the plants.