Friday, October 12, 2012

Planting Tulip Bulbs

Plant a tulip bulb garden in the fall season and the flowers will bloom in spring. Tulips are attractive when planted in masses along a walkway, close to your entrance or as accent plants in your yard and in a container.

For an informal tulip garden, you may want to plant your tulips in masses mixed with other spring bulbs; daffodils crocus and hyacinths are a few that look lovely when grown in masses. 

Plant a formal tulip bulb garden by choosing a color theme that will compliment your home and landscape. A garden around a tree with a color theme of red and white looks nice or purple and yellow will certainly make your feature garden pop.  Then plant tulips is stately urns and set the urns close to your home entrance. The tulip gardens will add color and curb appeal to your home. 

Things you will need to plant a tulip garden
  • Tulip Bulbs
  • Compost
  • Bonemeal
  • Organic Mulch
  • Garden hose
  • Garden gloves
  • Shovel
  • Tiller (optional) 
  • Water soluble fertilizer
Choose large tulip bulbs that are firm to the touch.  Refrain from selecting bulbs that are soft or have mold. Purchase quality bulbs, and you will grow healthy tulip flowers.

Select a garden site that has full sun with well-drained soil. A garden that is raised is a good choice because tulips need soil drainage, they will not grow if the bulb is sitting in water. 

Tulips will tolerate part shade at the end of the day but do require a minimum of seven hours of sun per day.  If growing under or close to a tree, plan on buying early spring blooming tulips.  These tulips will bloom before the leaves on the trees open.  If the garden has good light the stems will be straight and tall and will not bend toward the light. 

Plan your tulip garden by drawing the design out on paper. Use colored pencils to indicate the planting location for the tulip bulbs. For an informal garden of mixed spring bulbs, you would add these flowers to your garden plan. The garden design is very helpful when you are planting tulip bulbs as a color theme.
Watercolor of spring tulips

For massive plantings of tulip bulbs dig trenches that are twelve inches deep. The easiest way to do this is with a tiller. Remove the soil from the trench. Use your hands to loosen the soil until it is a light texture.  

Mix compost with the soil and fill the hole to 8 inches from the surface.   

Sprinkle bonemeal in the bottom of the hole. Plant the tulip (flat side down, pointy side up) at a depth of 3 times the size of the bulb diameter. Space your bulbs six inches apart. Cover the bulbs with soil and water well.


Water the tulip gardens one inch per week until the first hard frost.

When the ground starts to freeze, you would then cover the gardens with six inches of organic mulch; pine needles or chipped tree bark.

In early spring remove the mulch before the tulip stem starts to come up.  If the spring is dry begin watering tulips gardens, one inch of water per week.  A deep watering is good as it will get to the bulb.  After the tulip blooms cut back on watering.

When the tulip foliage breaks the ground, feed with a water soluble fertilizer.  I use miracle grow bloom booster and have good results.  Remember to fertilize when tulip starts to come up but not when tulip ready to bloom.

 Allow the tulip to die back naturally.   You can add mulch around the tulip after they have bloomed to retain moisture and to deter weed growth.

If your summers are dry then water the tulip gardens.  Even though it is not blooming it is still alive under the ground and needs hydration. 

You can plant tulips as late as November.

Learn how to plant tulip bulb gardens in a container by viewing this YouTube video:

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