When the first tulips appear, you know that spring is on the way. Learn how to plant tulips the best way to make sure that you will be able to enjoy them year after year.
Prepping the Bulbs
Be sure to obtain your bulbs from a reputable supplier. Choose a nursery with a good reputation or a quality online supplier. Be sure the bulbs you choose have no cuts, bruises or mold. Choose your bulbs according to species or variety, not color. If you live in an area that experiences mild winters, it can help to chill the bulbs for six to eight weeks in the refrigerator prior to planting. Make sure to keep them in a paper bag, away from any produce that can give off ethylene gas.
When to Plant
Tulips should be planted in the fall, depending on which U.S. Hardiness Zone you are located in. The general rule is, plant after the temperature stays 60 F or colder. Make sure the area you choose stays well-drained and doesn’t collect water. The area should also receive full sunlight.
How to Plant
The bulbs should be placed in the soil, pointed end up, about 6 inches deep. About 4 inches of soil should cover the plant. If your soil is sandy or light, or if creatures like voles are a problem, plant the bulb about 8 inches deep. Make sure the bulbs are all placed evenly and at the same depth to ensure that they will bloom at the same time. Likewise, if you want a staggered bloom, plant the bulbs at different depths. Plant about five bulbs in each square foot of soil. Bulbs should be spaced about 5 inches apart. Use a low-nitrogen fertilizer that is designed specifically for bulbs and follow the directions carefully.