How to Plant Tulips That Are Already Flowers


Colorful displays of tulips potted in containers flood the market in early spring. Used as centerpieces or placed on the doorstep, these spring plantings create a mass of color and brighten your home. Once blooms have faded, many discard the bulbs and purchase a new bouquet the following spring. For committed gardeners, the thought of throwing away plants is simply unheard of. Although it comes with some risk, spent tulips can be planted in the garden and may produce brilliant blooms the following spring.

Step 1

Select a location that receives full sun in early spring. South-facing slopes warm early in spring and produce the earliest blooms.

Step 2

Dig to a depth of eight inches and loosen the soil. Add two or three inches of well-rotted manure or compost and work it in well with the soil.

Step 3

Remove tulips from the pots, leaving the foliage intact. Foliage is needed to produce food for the bulb.

Step 4

Dig a hole to a depth of six inches and place the tulip bulb to the original planting depth in the container. Fill in around the bulb with soil and firm down with your hands.

Step 5

Water to saturate the soil to a depth of six inches to encourage good root formation. Water weekly until foliage yellows and dies.

Step 6

Apply bulb fertilizer in the fall following the recommended application.

Tips and Warnings

  • Tulips may not rebloom in the following year, but with careful transplanting and care to keep foliage alive, you may be surprised with bright blooms in the spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Potted tulips
  • Garden spade/trowel
  • Soil amendments (compost/manure)
  • Bulb fertilizer


  • UMN Extension: Saving Forced Bulbs After Bloom
  • NDSU Extension: Questions on Tulips
Keywords: plant tulips, tulip care, tulip bulbs

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.