Plant Tulip Bulbs in Autumn
Although tulips display their beautiful blooms in the spring, their growing season begins in the autumn. When planting new tulip bulbs, a gardener must plant them in the autumn to enable them to begin growing before the ground freezes. The bulbs must be in the soil with enough time for the root systems to establish yet not so early that the summer heat confuses them and they try to bloom before the winter sets in. The optimal planting time for tulip bulbs is approximately 2 weeks prior to the expected first frost of the autumn.
Tulip Bulbs in the Winter
Tulip bulbs need at least 8 weeks of temperatures under 50 degrees to prepare them for spring blooming. This cold is a requirement for the bulbs to receive the signal to begin growing when the temperatures begin to moderate. After the tulip bulbs are in the ground, the bulbs starts to form the root systems of the tulips. The tulip plants are dormant in the soil over the winter months until the soil warms in the spring. The arrival of warmth triggers the bulbs to awaken and the melting snow provides moisture for the growing tulip plants.
Tulips in the Spring and Early Summer
Tulips blossom in the spring with colorful blooms that liven up a spring landscape. After the tulips bloom and the blossoms begin to fade, clip off the faded blossoms. This will enable the tulips to direct their energy down to the bulbs to prepare for the next flowering season. Allow the foliage to yellow without interfering and continue to provide water if rain does not fall. When the foliage finally withers, pull the foliage and stems out of the soil from the bulbs.
Tulips in Mid to Late Summer
Tulip bulbs need no water over the warmest summer months. This dry period is part of the growth cycle. Some gardeners dig up tulip bulbs over the summer months and store them in a cool, dry location. This is not a requirement, however. If you notice that the tulips begin to decrease the amount of blooms, this may indicate that you should plant new tulip bulbs in your growing location. Some hybrid tulip varieties need replanting every autumn.
Tulip Plants in Autumn
After the warmth of the summer dissipates and autumn begins, the tulip bulbs re-enter the dormancy stage. The stage of cold begins again and is a requirement for the tulips to gear up for blossoming again in the spring.