How to Plant Tulips From Pots


Tulips are slightly scented and come in a variety of single and bi-colors, from white to deep blue. Bloom times are between March and May, and heights range from 4 to 24 inches, depending on the variety. Grown in abundance and hybridized in the Netherlands since the mid 1500s, this spring-blooming bulb gained popularity rapidly across Europe before reaching the United States. About 93 percent of tulips sold worldwide come from the Netherlands. Potted tulip bulbs, like those forced to bloom early, can be planted outdoors in the fall before the ground freezes.

Step 1

Water the potted tulips regularly until the petals drop. Continue to water lightly and regularly while the stems and leaves to die back naturally. The stems and leaves produce carbohydrates to nourish the bulbs after the blooms have faded. Stop watering when the foliage has completely died.

Step 2

Loosen the soil of the potted tulips and remove the bulbs around September, in preparation for planting.

Step 3

Dig a hole 8 to 10 inches deep outdoors in a sunny and well-drained location in the fall. For a natural look, gently toss the bulbs on the ground in the planting area, which creates a random arrangement. Dig the hole beneath each bulb. The bulbs should not be close enough to touch.

Step 4

Toss a handful of organic matter, like compost or leaf mold, and bulb fertilizer, according to manufacturer's instructions, into the bottom of the hole.

Step 5

Place the bulb in the hole with the pointed end up. Fill the hole halfway, water, then finish filling the hole with the soil removed from the hole.

Step 6

Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch, like pine bark, over the area.

Step 7

Water again and water every seven to 10 days, if there is no rain, and until the first frost.

Tips and Warnings

  • Tulips sold in pots, rather than bulbs you planted in a pot, may be bred for one-time bloom. Those types of tulips are discarded after blooming has finished.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or spade
  • Organic matter (optional)
  • Bulb fertilizer (optional)
  • Mulch


  • University of Vermont Extension: Origins of the Dutch Bulb Industry
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden: How to Grow Hardy Bulbs Indoors
  • "Country Living": Planting Spring Bulbs
Keywords: tulips, flowering bulbs, planting bulbs, tulips after blooming

About this Author

Barbara Raskauskas is a certified e-learning specialist and certified Microsoft Office specialist. She has written web content, technical documents and course material for a decade. Raskauskas now writes how-to's, product reviews and general topics published on several websites, including Demand Studios.