FLOWER GARDEN

How to Plant Tulip Bulbs for Spring Flowers

How to plant tulip bulbs for Spring flowers.  There is nothing quite as beautiful as seeing early Spring flowers.  When gardens start to bloom with vibrant colours, you know that Spring is finally here. 

Tulips are some of the prettiest Spring flowers you can have in your garden.  The flowers are available in a variety of different colours and shapes.  However, spring flowers are often grown in the Autumn or, as it is known, in the Fall.  This is why when you walk around stores during October, you will find beautiful flower bulbs for sale everywhere. 

Where to buy Spring flower bulbs

You can pick up a range of bulbs from your local garden centre, online stores, DIY stores and even supermarkets.  For better quality bulbs that bloom year on year, pick them up from a nursery that specialises in bulbs.

In this post, I have outlined an easy guide on how to plant tulip bulbs so that you can enjoy the vibrant colours of tulip flowers that will bloom in the Spring.  If you do not have a garden where you can grow tulips, do not worry, these beautiful spring flowers can also be grown in plant pots.

How to plant tulip bulbs for Spring flowers

When is the best time to plant tulip bulbs?

Tulips are spring flowers that you to plant in the fall.  The best time to plant tulip bulbs is around October and November.  The tulip bulbs need time to settle into their new environment.  They will start growing roots during the winter.  Therefore, plant them before the end of November. 

By the time Spring arrives, the bulbs have formed roots and by early March they will be ready to sprout upwards. 

If you have missed the growing season, do not worry, stores will sell sprouting bulbs around February or March.  You can purchase the bulbs and regrow them in your garden.

How to Plant Tulip Bulbs

Where to plant the bulbs?

Tulips like gardens that have well drained soil and a position in the garden that receives a lot of sun.  Therefore, when you are ready to plant tulip bulbs, look for a spot in your garden that will be sunny for most of the day. 

Whilst these early Spring flowers prefer soil that drains well, the soil in my garden is clay rich, but the tulips seem to grow very well even in clay.   The bulbs were planted in a sunny location, close to a tree, which has helped drain excess water from the clay.  This ensures that the soil is not constantly water logged.  In the Spring however, when there is little or no rain, I have to water the area because the clay becomes extremely dry and compact.   

How to plant tulip bulbs

  1. Look for a sunny position in your garden.
  2. Set out the bulbs where you want to plant them.  You can either plant the tulips in clusters for a natural look, grow them in a row or spread them around.  Ideally, you want to keep about 10 to 12 cm between each bulb.
  3. Dig the soil downwards about 10 to 15 cm deep.  The best time to dig soil, especially if you have a clay rich soil is when the soil is soft from rain.
  4. Place the bulb in each hole, cover, water and then leave it.
Dig the hole about 10cm deep and then place the bulb with the pointy side up.

That is all you need to do.  If the winter season is very dry, you may need to water the bulbs occasionally.  Other than that, it is a waiting game until Spring arrives.  By early March, you should see the tulip leaves sprout.  By late April the flowers should be in full bloom.

When do Tulips bloom?

The blooms depend on the type of tulip bulbs you buy. However, the tulips should start blooming towards the end of March, early April.  The flowers will last several weeks, taking you into May, before they wilt.   

Once the tulip flower wilts and falls, allow the leaves to dry completely.  Then gently pull out the leaves without pulling out the bulb.  As long as the bulb is still in the ground and healthy, you should get another bloom of tulip flowers in the following year.    

Early Spring Flowers

Do I plant tulips every year?

Most tulips bulbs should bloom year on year.  Which means that you do not have to plant tulip bulbs again unless you want to grow more tulips in a new location.  As mentioned earlier, to keep the bulb in its place, gently pull out the dry leaves.  The bulb will produce a new flower in the next year.

How to plant tulips in pots

Whilst most tulips are grown in the ground, you can still enjoy their vibrant colors if you plant the tulip bulbs in pots.  Simply follow the directions above.  The advantage to growing them in a pot is that you can move the pot around until you find a good sunny spot.  

Most tulip flowers will produce more bulbs around them, therefore you can either keep the new bulbs in their existing spot or replant them elsewhere. 

Leaving them in their existing spot means you will get clusters of tulips the following year.  However, if it is in the container, then the container may become overcrowded so you may want to gently pull them out and replant them somewhere else. 

Related Article: How to Plant Roses in Pots

Other Spring Flowers that grow from bulbs

There are many beautiful flowers that you can grow from bulbs in the Fall.  Some of the most common types are hyacinths, crocuses, daffodils and bluebells. 

Flowers such as blue bells and crocuses will sprout and flower very early on.  In some regions within the UK they will bloom whilst the ground still has some frost.  However, all of these spring flowers will regrow every year as long as the first bulb is healthy and good quality. 

The growing times for most flowering bulbs are similar to that of tulips.  Therefore, if you choose to grow other early Spring flowers, make sure it is around October and November. 

Whilst this guide is to plant tulips in the UK, you can still use it for other cold regions. Therefore, depending on where you live, you should follow a similar pattern of growth. Basically, plant the bulbs a few weeks before the first frost hits your region.

Related Article: Houseplants Perfect for Small Spaces

Common problems with planting tulip bulbs

Unfortunately, not all tulip bulbs will grow.  Some of the most common reasons are:

  1. The bulbs might have been diseased to start with.  When buying bulbs, choose bulbs that look healthy.  Check to see if they have any visible signs of mould or fungus.
  2. The soil was not draining well which water logged the bulb.
  3. There was not enough moisture in the ground.
  4. The bulbs did not receive enough sun hours to sprout.    

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