Tulip Planting Tips

The tulip is a perennial flower that grows from a bulb and comes in a wide variety of colors. The flower can grow as tall as 27 inches, and the leaves are waxy and green. Tulips usually bloom in the early spring and go dormant in the winter months. The flowers thrive in temperate climates with well-drained soil but can withstand a certain degree of drought.


Tulips grow best in sandy, well-drained soils. The sand is needed to provide the necessary drainage for the plants. Improve the soil before you plant your tulips. Peat moss or an organic fertilizer can be added to the soil to provide the needed nutrients to grow your tulip bulbs. This can be mixed into the soil with a rake.


Tulip bulbs are planted 6 to 8 inches in the ground and at least 5 to 6 inches apart. Tulips should be planted from early September to late October depending on the zone you live in. Check with your county extension office for the exact time. The plants will go into dormancy until the spring but usually bloom the first spring after they have been planted. Add 1 tbsp. of bone meal into each hole before you cover up the bulbs. This adds necessary food for the bulbs in the first year.


Tulips should be watered after you plant them in the early spring or fall. They will also need to be watered during the blooming season. Begin watering them just before they start blooming, and keep the bed watered to prevent surface cracks. Continue watering until just after all of the flowers have bloomed. Tulips may also need water during extremely dry periods of winter.


Tulips do not like to be fertilized. Fertilize them only when planting; then you will not need to fertilize them again. .


Blooming tulips are often cut and placed into vases. Cut the blooms with sharp pruning scissors and place them into lukewarm water. Your plants will soak up plenty of water and will stay fresh for several days.

End-of-Season Care

Wait for the leaves to yellow before removing them. You may mulch over the bulbs to protect them during the winter.

Keywords: planting tulips, tips for tulips, caring for tulips

About this Author

Melanie Hammontree has a master's in business and is working on a master's in journalism from the University of Tennessee. She is a member of the Society for Porfessional Journalists and has been writing for five years. Works include publications with Hall County Crime Examiner, Player's Press and The Gainesville Times.