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How to Plant Tulip Bulbs in Spring

The best time to plant tulips is in October so they will be ready to blossom the next spring. Sometimes, though, circumstances delay planting and the ground freezes in the winter. Plant the tulip bulbs as soon as the ground thaws in the spring, even if new growth has already started.

Dig the soil up to a depth of 12 inches. Remove weeds and rocks. Break up soil clumps and loosen the soil.

Spread 1 inch of peat moss on top of the planting area. Work this into the soil to the depth of 12 inches. This will help improve the drainage in the tulip bed.

Remove 6 inches of soil from the bed. Sprinkle 5 tbsp. of 10-10-10 fertilizer plus 2 cups of bonemeal for every 10 square feet of planting area.

Mix this into the bottom 6 inches of soil in the planting area. This puts the nutrients near the roots where the tulips can use them. Level out the soil in the tulip bed.

Lay out your tulips in the prepared bed. Clump them together and make sure that the noses of the bulbs are pointed upwards. This will ensure that the roots grow downwards.

Cover the tulip bulbs with 6 inches of the soil that was removed from the bed. Rake the soil level.

Water the tulip bed well in order to settle the soil. This will provide needed moisture to start root growth. Wait until the tulip shoots appear above ground before watering again.


Tulips look the best when they are planted in mass plantings rather than individually.

Pack unplanted tulip bulbs in damp peat moss in a cardboard box. Store them in the refrigerator or outside. Freezing temperatures will not hurt them at this time.

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