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Tulip bulb

Also see The History of the Tulip

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Plant/bulb type: True bulb
Planting time: Autumn. Avoid planting your Tulip bulb until the occasional hot spells have finished and the soil has cooled down. We often plant late April to early May.
Prior to Planting
All Tulips (except the Rock Tulips) require an artificial Winter so place the bulbs in the crisper of the fridge for 4-8 weeks. ( In cool climates for 4-6 weeks; in warmer climates for 6-8 weeks). Plant immediately after removing from the fridge.

  • Rock Tulips: 15-20cm
  • Monet Tulips: 40 -100cm
  • Other Tulips: 30-50cm
Depth & spacing: Plant 12-15cm deep and 10-15cm apart.
Aspect: Full sun to very light shade. In warmer climates, Tulips like a cool, part shaded spot.
Soil: Well drained & friable although will often grow well for one year in heavier soils.
Watering: Start watering when growth appears and keep soil slightly moist until foliage dies off after flowering. It is ideal to keep bulbs relatively dry whilst dormant.
Fertilising: Top dress with a complete fertiliser after planting & water in. Otherwise incorporate fertiliser into the soil a week or more before planting. For best results in subsequent year, top dress again immediately after flowering. Use a complete fertiliser such as Blood & Bone.
Flowering time: Early to mid Spring.
After flowering care: Allow the foliage to die back before loosening the soil and lifting the bulbs. Allow the bulbs to dry off (don't leave them in the sun) then shake off excess dirt, remove flower stalks and store. At this point do not remove the smaller bulbs attached to the 'mother' bulb. These bulbs will, if cared for each year, grow into flowering sized.
Storage: The bulbs need to be stored in a cool, airy and dry spot with temperatures of 15-23c. Old stockings are excellent for holding the dormant bulbs

To protect the bulbs from aphid or thrip infestation during this period, lightly dust the bulbs with an insecticide powder prior to storage. Don't forget to put the bulbs back into the crisper prior to planting the following Autumn.

Tulip bulbs in warmer climates: Even in warmer climates Tulips can be enjoyed for at least one year. To get a good display the bulbs must be refrigerated for 6-8 weeks and then planted in a cool part of the garden (lightly shaded & south facing.)

Trouble shooting:
  • Drying leaves & flower buds This is often caused by Botrytis (Tulip Fire). To protect against Botrytis, spray the Tulips with a fungal spray designed for ornamental plants (ask at your local nursery).
  • Foliage but no flowers: This is usually a result of bulbs becoming too hot (which cooks the flower bud). This can happen during storage or after planting. To avoid this, ensure the storage spot stays relatively cool (ie less than 25C) and don't plant the bulbs until early May. This gives the soil a chance to cool down after Summer.

Last Reviewed: 13/02/2004 11:30:43 AM
Keywords: Tulips, plant care, garden care, garden tip, plant guide, garden guide, perennial, flower bulb, spring bulb

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