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Infographic - How to Plant Tulips

Five easy steps for planting and caring for your fall bulbs:

* Tips for protecting your bulbs from Critters

Step 1: Upon arrival

Open your Wicked Tulips box and let the bulbs get some air. In most cases bulbs are happiest when stored just below room temperature until planting. Always in a well-ventilated area. Temperatures between 50 and 68 degrees are ideal. No need to store bulbs in the refrigerator, unless you live in warmer Southern States. More info

Step 2: Where to plant tulips and other fall bulbs

You can plant bulbs just about anywhere in your garden as long as the soil drains well. The two most important considerations when choosing a planting site are:

  • Good Drainage! Most important rule before planting your bulbs. Find a spot in your garden where water does not collect and drains away. 
  • Sun Light. Especially bulbs planted in perennial gardens. You can plant in part sun but remember the sun is the energy source required to produce flowers for future springs.

Step 3: When to plant tulips and other fall bulbs

It is estimated that more than 10% of all bulbs purchased are NEVER planted!! People just forget about them... So my first advice is to just stick them in the ground whenever you have time!  Bulbs are very easy to grow.  For the best results, plant spring flowering bulbs like Tulips, Daffodils and Crocus etc in the fall. The general rule is not to plant bulbs before the soil temperature drops below 55 degrees. This is usually around the first night frost. If you find bulbs in March, always give it a try and plant them ASAP. Bulbs are not like seeds and can't be stored for the next season.

Tulip Planting Zones Map

Step 4: How to plant tulips and other fall bulbs

Bulbs can be planted individually or in groups. I prefer planting in groups, because this creates the most dramatic display and it goes way faster than planting individually! The best planting depth for tulips is 6-8" deep. Some gardeners plant them even deeper, which can have a positive effect for perennializing. Check specific planting instructions for the proper depth and spacing for other bulbs like daffodils, muscari, etc. Smaller bulbs are planted less deep. Tulip bulbs can be planted with little or no spacing for the most dramatic display - just two thumbs widths (2-4") is enough!

If the soil at the bottom of your planting hole is loose and not compact, the roots will have an easier time developing. When planting your bulbs, plant them with the point straight up or sideways but not upside down.

If the soil is dry at planting time, water thoroughly after planting. Rain should take care of watering needs during the winter and early spring. If the spring is extremely dry, water them moderately.

Step 5: Fertilizer facts for tulips and other fall bulbs

Bulbs are not heavy feeders. We do not recommend adding fertilizer to the planting hole. Our growing methods are focused on healthy soil and fertilizing is not always the best choice to create healthy soil. Synthetic fertilizers throw the soil life out of balance and can burn the new tender roots. Healthy soil will create healthy plants! 

However, it can't hurt to add a handful of compost (well mixed in!) to your planting area. Their new roots are sensitive, so you don't want clumps. For perennial bulb gardens, you also don't need fertilizer in the fall when they are planted, but you can use a little low-nitrogen, organic fertilizer in the spring when they just start to sprout.

Three easy steps for caring for your tulips after bloom:

Step 1: Deadheading tulips

When tulips are done blooming, dead head them and try to keep the leaves green as long as possible. Simply use your thumb and forefinger to snap off the flower of the tulip.  If you leave it on, the energy will go towards creating seeds instead of new bulbs, which is not what you want. Water the tulips when soil is getting dry, but be moderate with watering. Too much water can cause disease.

Step 2: Dig up and divide tulip bulbs (optional)

After the leaves die back you can either choose to dig the bulbs up and divide them or keep them in the ground during the summer. We advise to dig them up at least once every three years. We are digging up all our bulbs every year. After digging we divide the bulbs (A bulb multiplies into 1 big bulb and several baby bulbs).  

Step 3: Storing the bulbs over the summer (optional)

If you decide to dig up and store the bulbs until planting, place them in a very well ventilated area, between 65 and 75 degrees until next fall.