Tips to get the best results from your tulip bulbs

26th Jul 2022

Tulips are a spring staple in the garden, we love them, our logo is one! We stock around two hundred carefully selected Tulipa varieties, featuring every imaginable colour and shade.

Get the best results from your tulip bulbs

Flowering in the spring, tulips become dormant in the summer once the flowers and leaves die back, before emerging as a shoot in early spring. They are available in a wide range of colours and they make a great cut flower too. Grow them in borders, rock gardens and containers for colour ranging from early March through to mid-May, before your summer flowers appear.

When do I plant Tulip bulbs?

Plant tulips in Autumn between September and December. It is better to plant them when the temperature is cooler, so late autumn is better. You can plant tulips as late as January and they will still perform. They will begin to flower from March depending on the type of tulip. Some tulips flower into late April. Usually, they have approximately two weeks of flowering time per bulb depending on the weather.

How do I prepare Tulip bulbs to plant?

Tulip bulbs are good at taking care of themselves. They start with a good resource of moisture and nutrients stored within the bulb. So you don’t need to feed them, soak them or prepare them in any way. To get the best results from your tulip bulbs, plant them in moist soil during autumn. This will activate the growth of the roots before winter. The roots are very fibrous and stretch out quite a long way. If they sit in water they will rot and effect the performance of the flower.

They need a good period of cold weather and once the temperature changes this activates a hormonal change and the foliage will begin to grow. This is when it is helpful to water regularly. Good drainage will stop the roots from being water logged, but we have successfully grown tulips in all kinds of soil.

How do I plant Tulip bulbs?

Plant tulip bulbs 10-15cm deep in well-draining soil. Place 5-10cm apart. Tulips don’t like to be too wet during their dormant period but once they start growing make sure they don’t dry out. If planting in pots, make sure they have good drainage and lots of room for the roots to develop. Pots can dry out quite quickly so a loam soil is often best.

How many tulip bulbs should I plant together?

It is recommended to plant 60-70 tulip bulbs per square metre. This is only a guide, so long as the tulip has room for the foliage to grow and the bulbs aren’t touching you can fit more in. You can also spread them out further.

How do I space my tulip bulbs?

For a good display we recommend planting 60-70 bulbs per square metre. If you are planting in pots, providing the pots are nice and deep, you can fit a few more in than recommended to make a powerful impression. The foliage of the tulip is very upright and doesn’t spread much further than 10cm around the stem.

With this in mind, to stop the roots competing and the foliage getting cramped, tulip bulbs will ideally like to be placed 8-10cm apart for a natural look.

Placing them closer will not stop them growing or flowering, but you will have to water more regularly. Equally, tulips have good strong stems and don’t need the support of surrounding foliage to hold them up. So you can plant them individually quite far apart.

Species tulips can produce a lot of foliage and small flowers. The bulbs are much smaller so we recommend planting 100-120 bulbs per square metre.

Should tulips be planted in sun or shade?

Tulip bulbs can be planted in a sunny position or semi-shade, with well-drained slightly acidic or neutral soil. The sun will make the tulip flowers open very wide, but they close again overnight. Taller varieties should be sheltered from strong winds to avoid stem breakage.

Should I water my tulip bulbs after planting?

You should not over-water tulip bulbs during winter. It is important to not let them dry out, tulips in pots might need extra watering. Keep the soil moist whilst they are actively growing. For best results, fertilize with a balanced compost or time-release bulb food.

How do I look after my tulips?

To get the best results from your tulip bulbs, when the leaves emerge in Spring, feed your them with the same bulb food you used when planting, and water well, but ensure the soil is draining correctly.

Once your Tulips are blooming you can deadhead the flowers but do not remove the leaves. These will ensure the bulbs are able to gather and store the energy needed to bloom again the following year. Once the foliage has yellowed and died back, it can be removed.

How many years do tulips last?

Most tulip bulbs will split into many smaller bulbs once they have flowered, but many of these smaller bulbs won’t flower the following year. You can keep the small bulbs for the future but we recommend that you replace the bulbs for a good display the following year. Species tulips (Specie Tulipa), such as Tulip Linifolia, Tulip Persian Pearl and Tulip Turkestanica can flower year after year.

Will tulip bulbs spread?

Tulips are not good at spreading. The seeds can take many years to develop into bulbs ready for flowering but only if the conditions are right for them.

We stock around two hundred varieties of tulip bulb, and if you find it too hard to choose, we also stock tulip bulb mixtures, all made on-site with as many varieties as possible to enjoy the great range available. Our tulip cutting mixture is great value – consisting of 100 bulbs of early, late, single, double, classic and fancy flowering types.

We are happy to discuss any of our tulip bulbs, whether you are looking to buy in bulk as a trade customer or just looking for an interesting display for your garden.