How to Plant Tulips in Containers


Tulips are one of the first floral signs of spring, and many tulip lovers wait through a long winter in order to enjoy their arrival. If you happen to be in a hurry for spring, or you simply want to enjoy the beauty of tulips throughout the year, try growing them in containers. Container tulips allow you to have control over when you want to see your tulip bulbs bloom, and you can move the container from one location to another.

Step 1

Choose a pot for your tulip that is approximately 8 inches in diameter and has drainage holes in the bottom.

Step 2

Fill the pot with a quality commercial potting soil mix.

Step 3

Plant the tulip bulbs at a depth that is three times the depth of the bulb. For example, if the bulb is 1 inch thick, plant it so the bottom of the bulb is 3 inches below the soil's surface. Insert the bulbs in the soil so the pointed end of the bulb is facing up. For an 8-inch pot, you can plant three to four bulbs, spaced 2 inches apart.

Step 4

Tap the soil down lightly over the bulbs.

Step 5

Water the pot and let the bulbs and soil soak up the water for 24 hours. After 24 hours, place the pot in a cold spot in the back of the refrigerator and leave there for 12 weeks. This is a process that mimics the natural winter season for the bulbs. They need to experience the winter in order to bloom when the temperature becomes warmer.

Step 6

Move the potted bulbs out of the refrigerator after 12 weeks, or when the plant top has grown to be 1 inch in height. Place the container in a dark location with an average temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the container in this area for three weeks.

Step 7

Place the container in a warm, sunny location when the tops are 3 inches tall, or at the end of the three weeks in a dark area.

Tips and Warnings

  • If the tulip container dries out, it can kill the tulips. Keep an eye on the moisture level.

Things You'll Need

  • 8-inch diameter container
  • Commercial potting soil
  • Water
  • Refrigerator


  • Gardening-Guides: Let's Grow Tulips
  • North Dakota State University Extension: Questions On Tulips
Keywords: container tulips, 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.