How to Plant a Tulip in a Container


Tulips are one of the first colorful sights of spring, welcoming the end to a long winter. If you don't have a yard or place to plant tulip bulbs, or you don't want to wait until spring, you can plant tulips in a container and enjoy them wherever, and whenever, you wish. Container planting of tulips is an easy winter project that can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike.

Step 1

Select a pot with drainage holes and a drainage tray underneath.

Step 2

Fill the bottom of the pot with pebbles or stone, 1 inch deep.

Step 3

Add 2 inches of potting soil to the pot. Pack it down firmly, but don't make it rock hard.

Step 4

Insert the tulip bulbs with the root side (flat side) down and the pointed side up. The number of bulbs you put in a pot will depend upon the size of the pot you have. A 4-inch wide pot can typically take one to two bulbs; an 8-inch pot, three to five.

Step 5

Cover the bulbs with another 2 inches of potting soil and then add a 1-inch layer of sand to the top of the pot. The sand will help keep the soil moist, but not too wet.

Step 6

Place the pot in a cold area. According to EcoTulips, the ideal temperature is between 32 and 50 degrees. The refrigerator, a garage, unheated basement or root cellar will work well. Leave the pot in the cool location for eight to 10 weeks. Tulip bulbs need this cold period in order to bloom. Water only every three weeks, and remember to not over-water the soil. The tulips should begin to emerge from the soil within the eight- to 10-week time frame.

Step 7

Move the tulip container to a warm, sunny location when the sprouts have reached a height of 2 to 4 inches. You should have blooms within a month.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you over-water the tulips, or do not have adequate drainage in your pot, the bulbs may rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Tulip bulbs
  • Container with good drainage
  • Pebbles or stone
  • Potting soil
  • Sand
  • Water


  • EcoTulips: Growing Container Tulips

Who Can Help

  • North Dakota State University: Questions on Tulips
Keywords: container tulips, plant tulips in container, growing container tulips

About this Author

A freelance writer for more than 12 years, Traci Vandermark has written extensively on health and fitness topics. She is a student of health, fitness and nutrition at the International Institute Of Holistic Healing, certified by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. Her articles have appeared in Catskill Country Magazine, The Lookout Magazine, Capper's, Birds and Blooms and Country Discoveries, to name a few.