In this gardening guide, we’ll talk about how to grow tulips from bulbs, care for them, and their requirements.

Tulips are beautiful, bright flowers that are a sign of spring and prefer cooler climates with dry summers. There are many different tulip varieties and colors, and their heights range from 6 inches to 2 feet. There are varieties that bloom earlier in the spring, and varieties that bloom later in the spring. Although tulips are perennials, most gardeners treat them as annuals, planting new bulbs every fall.

Usually, tulip bulbs are planted in the fall right before the ground freezes. Bloom time can vary by tulip variety. Most gardeners will plant different varieties (with different bloom times), so that they’ll have tulips blooming from early spring to late spring. Tulips are easy to grow and care for, and make for excellent cut flowers.

There are many different types of tulips, from small tulips that grow in woodlands, to bigger tulips that are best suited for gardens. Their height will vary between 6 inches to 2 feet. A single tulip will grow on each stem, with 2-6 broad leaves per plant.

Tulips are planted in the fall, and require full sun. Bloom time will depend on the growing conditions such as sunlight, soil acidity, water, and variety. Keep reading to learn how to grow tulips in your garden!

How to Grow Tulips in Your Garden

multi colored tulips

Planting Tulips:

  • Plant your tulip bulbs in the fall, about 6-8 weeks before the first hard frost (before the ground freezes).
  • Try planting bulbs as soon as you purchase them – they don’t like sitting around for too long.
  • If you live in a warmer climate, purchase chilled bulbs or keep them in the fridge for 12 weeks before planting them.
  • Choose a site with full, afternoon sun, or a shady site if you live in a warmer climate.
  • Soil should be well draining, neutral to slightly acidic, fertile, and dry or sandy.
  • Loosen the soil to a depth of 12-15 inches deep, and then mix in a 2-4 inch layer of compost.
  • Space each bulb 4-6 inches apart.
  • Plant each bulb at least 8 inches deep, measuring from the top of the bulb.
  • Cover with soil and press firmly.
  • Water bulbs as soon as you’ve planted them.
  • Tulips will start growing in early spring.

Where to Plant Tulips:

  • Choose an area with full sun – preferably afternoon sun. Those in USDA zones 7-8, should plant tulips in a shaded area, or one where they will receive only morning sun.
  • Choose well draining soil that is neutral to slightly acidic, dry, and fertile.
  • Keep an eye out for excessive moisture – tulips do not like wet soil.
  • If you are growing a tall variety of tulip, keep away from excessive winds.
  • Space each tulip bulb 4-6 inches apart, and make sure you have a larger enough planting area.

Caring for Tulips:

colored tulips

  • Water tulips weekly during dry spells.
  • If it rains, do not water tulips. Over watering is the main cause of fungus disease and rotted bulbs in tulips.
  • To encourage fast drainage, add sand, shredded pine bark, or another rough material.
  • Compost every year to provide nutrients for future bulbs.
  • Once leaves emerge in the spring, feed your tulips with bone meal and water well.
  • Deadhead tulips after flowering, but be careful not to remove the leaves.
  • Let the leaves remain on the plant about 6 weeks after flowering. The foliage will actually give the tulip plant energy to bloom again next year. Once the foliage has turned yellow, it can be pruned back.
  • Replace large variety tulips every few years. Small tulip varieties will usually multiply on their own.

Tulip Pests & Diseases:

  • Keep an eye out for the following pests and diseases which can affect tulips.
  • To prevent these, visit your tulip bed on a regular basis and use a homemade insecticide which will kill off most pests and diseases.
    • Gray mold
    • Slugs
    • Snails
    • Aphids
    • Nematodes
    • Bulb rot
    • Mice
    • Rabbits
    • Squirrels

So now that you know how to grow tulips, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to planting!

Happy Planting!

How to Grow Tulips