How Do I Plant Tulip Bulbs?


Planting tulip bulbs does not take much effort or knowledge. They grow easily and even when planted sideways or upside down they will still germinate and sprout to the surface. It does not take many materials to be able to plant tulips either. This is an activity that even the children of the household can do.

Planting Tulip Bulbs

Step 1

Choose a spot to plant your bulbs. It can be in an existing flower garden or if you wish to have a more naturalized look, plant them under trees or in the lawn. Tulips grow best in sun but will tolerate partial shade, and remember, when they bloom, there probably won't be any leaves on the trees yet. They require well-drained soil because if waterlogged, the bulbs will rot.

Step 2

Plant tulip bulbs in the fall. The cold creates a chemical reaction within the bulb that causes them to grow leaves and sprout. Plant bulbs in September or October when the temperature stays at around 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Bulbs need to be planted a few weeks before a hard freeze in order for their roots to have time to grow.

Step 3

Prepare the soil before you place the bulbs in the ground. Loosen the soil with a shovel. If you are planting in an existing garden, the soil should be ready and you do not need to add anything to amend the soil. If you are planting the bulbs in an area that has never had any flowers and are creating a new flower bed, it is beneficial to add some compost and peat moss to the soil and mix well before planting. Bulb fertilizer can be added but new bulbs usually do not need it. In fact, it may burn the bulbs. Bulb fertilizer needs to be used after the first year of blooming.

Step 4

Plant a tulip bulb with the flat side down and pointed side up about 4 to 6 inches deep. Measure the diameter of the bulb and plant it at two to three times that depth. A 2-inch diameter bulb should be planted at a depth of 4 to 6 inches. There are several ways to plant the tulip bulb. You can just dig a small hole with a trowel and pop the bulb in. You can also dig down about 6 inches and remove the soil from an area in the garden. Place all the bulbs in the area spacing them an inch or two apart and cover them with the soil.

Step 5

Tamp down the soil over the bulb and water. Do not water until spring when the first leaves start to appear. Mulch the bulbs with straw that will protect the roots during the winter. Bark mulch can also be used for this purpose.

Tips and Warnings

  • It is not advisable to put fertilizer in the hole before planting a bulb because it could cause burns to the bulb.

Things You'll Need

  • Tulip bulbs
  • Trowel or shovel
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Straw for mulch


  • American Meadows: How to Plant Flower Bulbs
  • Pioneer Thinking: How to Plant 100 Tulip Bulbs in Thirty Minutes
  • Gardening with Kids: Planting Tulips

Who Can Help

  • Growing Tulips: Tulipia
Keywords: planting tulip bulbs, tulip bulb planting, planting spring tulips