Tulips and Easter lilies both grow from bulbs and bloom during the warmer months. Tulips bloom earlier in the growing season and are “spring bulbs,” while Easter lilies bloom during summer and are “summer bulbs.” Both bulb flowers can grow easily outdoors and tolerate cold winter temperatures, but Easter lilies are more often grown indoors as houseplants. Easter lilies are forced to bloom by commercial growers and sold during the Easter holiday season.
Plant Easter lilies in spring after all danger of frost has passed, but plant tulip bulbs in the fall when soil temperatures are cooler than 60 degrees Fahrenheit and about six to eight weeks before the first expected frost. Select a planting site that’s in full to partial sunlight and has very well-draining soil.
Prepare the planting bed for the Easter lily and tulip bulbs by loosening the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches using a rototiller, tilling fork or pitchfork. Spread a 2- to 4-inch-thick layer of organic compost onto the planting bed and mix it into the soil.
Dig planting holes for the tulips that are three times as deep as the bulb’s length and that are spaced 4 to 6 inches apart. Dig planting holes for the Easter lilies that are about 3 inches deeper than the height of the bulbs and spaced 12 to 18 inches apart.
Set the tulip bulbs into the planting hole with the pointy ends facing up and fill in the holes with the displaced soil, firming down the soil with your hands. Plant the Easter lily bulbs into the holes with the roots spread out in the bottom and the bulbs about 3 inches below the soil level. Fill in the Easter lilies' planting holes with soil and mound an additional 3 inches of soil on top.
Water the newly planted bulbs thoroughly to soak the soil down to and around the bulbs. Water so that the soil is moistened to a depth of at least 12 inches.
Water the Easter lilies and tulips deeply and thoroughly to soak the soil to a depth of about 12 inches once or twice each week during prolonged dry spells or droughts. Spread a 2- to 3-inch thick layer of organic mulch or compost on the ground around the lilies and tulips once each year in spring.
Cut back the flower stalks of the Easter lilies and tulips when the flowers finish blooming and begin to fade. Cut the stalks back to the ground level, but leave the foliage intact.