How to Prolong Tulip Life


Unlike daffodils and other spring bulbs, tulips do not create new bulbs under the soil ensuring blooms for many years to come. Many tulips only have a one or two year blooming period before only growing foliage then dying off. Many gardeners plant fresh tulip bulbs because of this. Caring for them properly and ensuring maximum nutrient storage for the tulip bulbs may prolong their flowering life of three to four springs, saving the money and effort that would be spent on new bulbs.

Step 1

Plant tulip bulbs in fall six to eight weeks before the expected first frost. Plant in a well drained garden bed that is in full sunlight.

Step 2

Dig planting holes to a depth twice that the bulb's width. Avoid planting too deep as this may inhibit blooming. Space holes 4 to 6 inches apart in clusters.

Step 3

Place a teaspoon of bulb fertilizer in each planting hole and cover with a thin layer of soil. Set the bulb in the hole pointed side up. Fill in around the bulb with soil and firm in place with your hands.

Step 4

Water the bed thoroughly then lay a 3 inch layer of mulch over the bed. Mulching preserves soil temperature which prevents frost heave in the soil, which may damage bulbs.

Step 5

Cut off the flower stalks in spring after the tulips are done blooming. Leave the leaves on the tulips to yellow and die back naturally, as they are storing nutrients for next year's flowers.

Step 6

Work a teaspoon of bulb fertilizer per tulip into the top 1 inch of soil around each plant. Cultivate it in carefully taking care not to damage the bulb under the soil surface.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not let the fertilizer come in direct contact with the bulbs or leaves. This may burn and damage them.

Things You'll Need

  • Bulb fertilizer
  • Trowel
  • Mulch


  • University of Kentucky Extension:Tulips and Their Care
Keywords: tulip bulbs, prolonging tulip life, spring bulb care

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.