About Planting Tulips- Growing Season and More

Tulip Choices and Varieties

One of the first flowers to bloom, the spring tulip season puts on a flower display for several weeks. The tulip offers a wide range of blossom colors, with flowers appearing in reds, pinks, orange, yellow, purple, and white. A few varieties even sport blossom shades close to black in appearance. The blossoms are singular, double, or ruffled with many bi-color varieties. The season for tulips begins in April and persists into May depending on the tulip bulb variety. Heights range from 6 to 15 inches. After flowering, foliage persists into mid-summer before dying back.

Available online, at supermarkets, garden supply stores ,and home improvement retailers, tulips offer ease of planting and growth for a stunning garden display. Choose only top quality bulbs; large bulbs produce a more abundant flower display. Avoid bulbs that have soft spots, areas of discoloration, or any type of mold growing on the surface.


Tulips do best in climates that offer a cool or cold winter. The bulbs require a period of cold stratification in the ground prior to blossoming. This can be achieved by planting the bulbs in the late fall in areas with long winters or in the late winter in regions with mild winter weather. Plant bulbs in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 4 to 5 in October, plant in zones 6 to 7 during the latter part of October and into November, zones 8 to 9 require November and December planting, and zone 10 requires planting in January.

Choose a location with well-draining soil. Areas prone to water accumulation from the spring thaw cause the bulbs to rot prior to growing. Mix aged manure and peat moss into the soil prior to planting, and plant each tulip bulb 6 inches deep. Space tulip bulbs approximately 5 inches apart when planting. Cover the newly planted bulbs with 2 inches of mulch, such as peat moss or bark chips. Sprinkle a bulb fertilizer across the soil’s surface when planting and water in thoroughly.

Tulip Care

When the foliage of the tulip first begins to emerge through the soil’s surface, fertilize with bone meal. Apply according to the instructions on the label.

Tulips make excellent cut flowers for a spring bouquet. Removing the flower heads poses no danger to the plant. Always remove spent flower heads to keep the flowerbed looking tidy.

When the foliage has completely died back during the mid summer clip it away at ground level. Do not remove the foliage unless it is completely dead, because it supplies the bulbs with needed nutrients for the following blossoming season.

Bulb Division

Every few years tulips require lifting and dividing. The task is best achieved during the fall months. Gently dig up the bulbs and separate. Discard any bulbs that show signs of diseases, soft spots, or discoloration. Replant the tulip bulbs as if they were newly purchased bulbs. Lifting and dividing helps restore the blossoming ability of the tulips.

Rewards of Growing Tulips

During the height of the spring, the season for tulips, an abundant color display begins. Planting tulips is relatively easy when the gardener considers the colorful rewards of numerous blossom that can grace the yard be cut for a springtime bouquet.

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