Planting Instructions for Tulips


Tulips are spring flowering bulbs. Like daffodils and other bulbs in this category, tulips begin growing in blooming in early spring, often producing some of the first flowers of the season. Tulips come in a large range of colors that fit into most landscaping designs. There are even dark purple tulips that appear black. Plant tulips four to six weeks before the ground freezes in the fall.

Step 1

Choose a bed that is well-drained; it should receive full sun. Lay a 2-inch layer of mature compost over the bed. Work it in to the soil to a 10-inch depth. This improves soil drainage and provides necessary nutrients to the bed.

Step 2

Dig a 5-inch hole for a 1-inch bulb. For a bulb over 2 inches, dig an 8-inch hole. Space the holes 4 to 8 inches apart.

Step 3

Place a teaspoon of bulb fertilizer in the bottom of each hole, cover the fertilizer with a sprinkling of dirt. Alternately, use a general fertilizer or bone meal.

Step 4

Place the bulbs in the holes with the pointed side facing up. Cover them with soil; water them until the soil is moist.

Step 5

Cover the tulip bed with a 3-inch layer of straw or bark mulch; water it a second time. Mulching preserves soil moisture, and it protects the bed from temperature fluctuation over winter.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Spade
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch


  • Ohio State University Extension: Growing Hardy Bulbs
  • University of Kentucky Extension: Tulips
Keywords: planting tulip bulbs, spring bulbs, tulip planting instructions

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.