How to Plant Tulips in the Spring


Tulips are showy flowering bulbs that are regarded as one of the easier bulbs to grow. They are very easy to recognize by their cup-shaped blossoms that come in a wide assortment of colors and shapes. Although typically planted in the fall for spring blooming, keep in mind that spring-planted tulips may not perform as well. Plant tulip bulbs in the spring as soon as possible.

Step 1

Turn over the soil in the planting area to a depth of between 16 and 18 inches. You can use a garden fork or spade to do this. Remove any objects such as rocks, sticks, roots or weeds as you turn over the soil.

Step 2

Fertilize the soil in the planting area use a at the rate of 1 to 1 1/2 pounds for every 50 square feet of planting area. Work the fertilizer into the soil thoroughly using a garden fork.

Step 3

Amend the soil in the planting area according to the type of soil. If the soil is heavy, or sticky like clay, spread out a 2-inch layer of either coarse sand or peat moss. Spread out a 2-inch layer of compost, or peat moss, if the soil is light and sandy. Mix the amendment into the soil thoroughly.

Step 4

Dig planting holes sized according to the size of the tulip bulbs. Dig 5-inch-deep holes spaced approximately 1 to 4 inches apart for smaller sized bulbs (1-inch). For larger bulbs (2 inches or more), dig holes 8 inches deep and space them 4 to 8 inches apart.

Step 5

Mix 1 tablespoon of bone meal into the soil at the bottom of each planting hole. The use of bone meal will help ensure strong roots and vigorous growth. Cover up the soil and bone meal mixture with approximately 1 inch of soil.

Step 6

Place the tulip bulbs with the rounded side (root side) facing downward into the soil. Fill each of the holes half-full of soil. Pour water into each hole until they're about half-full. Finishing filling each of the holes with soil after the water has drained away.

Step 7

Spread a 10-10-10 or similar fertilizer over the planting area at the rate of 1 1/2 to 2 pounds per every 50 square feet of planting area.

Step 8

Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic matter or mulch over the entire planted area. You can use leaf mold, grass clippings, or other similar material. Water the tulips thoroughly, using a steady slow stream of water so it can reach down to each of the bulbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Tulip bulbs
  • Shovel or garden fork
  • Fertilizer
  • Soil amendment
  • Trowel
  • Bone meal
  • Mulch


  • The University of Kentucky: Information on Tulips
  • Iowa State University: Planting Bulbs

Who Can Help

  • The University of Illinois: Information on Bulbs
Keywords: planting tulip bulbs, tulip bulb planting, spring tulip planting

About this Author

Katelyn Lynn is a certified holistic health practitioner who specializes in orthomolecular medicine and preventative modalities. She also has extensive experience in botany and horticulture. Lynn has been writing articles for various websites relating to health and wellness since 2007. She has been published on She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in alternative medicine from Everglades University.