Tulip After Care with Garden Answer

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How to Care for Tulips

Three Parts:

Tulips are a beautiful addition to any flower garden or lawn. You can grow gorgeous tulips year after year with the right maintenance and attention. It's quite easy – no watering schedule and no complicated fertilization techniques. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, this flower is good choice for any garden.


Planting Your Tulip Bulbs

  1. Plant your tulips in the fall, about 6 to 8 weeks before winter.Tulip bulbs are best planted in September or October in the northern climates and October or November in the southern climates. The warmer your climate, the later they should be planted. The soil should be below 60°F (15°C).
    • You can keep tulip bulbs in your refrigerator (or some other cool, dry location) for about 2 months before planting season if you buy them in summer. However, do not store them next to apples, as they give off ethylene, destroying the bulb.
    • Most bulbs need 12-14 weeks of a "cold period" to bring about beautiful bulbs come spring.Do not buy bulbs after December 1st unless they've been "pre-cooled."
  2. Choose an area that receives some shade.It should be sunny at least part of the day where you plant your tulips. In places like the American southeast, plant them in a place that gets morning sun only.Tulips want sun, but they also want cool soil – don't give them sun that'll scorch them.
    • If you're farther north, sun all day may be fine (the soil will be naturally cool enough). But if you live further south where it's hotter, shade in the afternoon will be better to keep the soil cooler.
  3. Choose sandy, well-drained soil with a pH of 6 to 6.5.There is no sub-species of tulip that prefers excessive moisture. The soil should be well-drained, neutral to slightly acidic, fertile, and even sandy.
    • Wet soil is death to a tulip. Never purposefully go out of your way to water your tulips – all you can do is ensure drainage by adding shredded pine bark or even sand to the area.
  4. Loosen the soil.Before planting the tulip bulbs, use a planting fork or tiller to loosen the soil. Dig down in the soil 12 inches (30.5 cm) to 15 inches (38.1 cm). Then, mix 2 inches (5.1 cm) to 4 inches (10.2 cm) of compost into the soil.
  5. Plant the bulbs at a depth that is about three times as deep as the bulb.The bigger the bulb, the deeper your hole should be. It should be 12 inches (30.5 cm) to 15 inches (38.1 cm) deep. Loosen the soil to ensure drainage or create a raised bed.
    • The bigger the bulb, the bigger the bloom will be, too.
    • If you live in a very warm climate, you may wish to keep the bulbs in your fridge for the first 4-6 weeks to simulate cold weather. Give it a light watering every couple of weeks to retain a bit of moisture.
  6. Plant bulbs6 inches (15.2 cm) or more from each other.They need about 4–6 inches (10.2–15.2 cm) of their own soil to grow sufficiently, otherwise they encroach on each other's nutrients. Choose a plot size that allows each of your tulips its own "home turf."
    • Plant each bulb pointy end up. Fill the hole back with soil and press the dirt into place firmly.
    • Tulips rapidly multiply. Even if you only plant a few, in a couple of years, you'll have a whole family.
  7. Apply mulch.After planting your tulip bulbs, cover them with chopped leaves, wood chips or mulch. If you have rodents or animals in your garden that you're worried about, you may need to erect a cage or fence around the bulbs. You may also consider putting thorny leaves or gravel in with the soil to deter pests.
    • Use a 1 inch (2.5 cm) to 2 inches (5.1 cm) layer of mulch, leaves, or wood chips to protect the bulbs, control weeds and retain moisture.
    • If you're planting perennials, you'll need to feed them every year to start them going again. You can use organic material, compost, or a balanced time-release bulb food every fall to start the process going.

Caring for Your Tulips

  1. Water your tulips once planted.Right after planting, the tulipsdoactually need watering to trigger growth. This will likely be one of the few times you actually have to water them.
    • Do not water them again until you see leaves. Then, you can give them a light sprinkling and that's it.
  2. Water developing tulips only during a dry spell.If it hasn't rained in a few weeks in your area, give your tulips a dusting of water. This will be one of the rare occasions when you should step in and get some moisture into the soil.
    • Tulips often need less water during the spring due to lots of rain and moisture. Most of the time, the weather will take care of this plant for you. Normal rainfall is all they need.
  3. Do not allow your tulips to remain in standing water.If there has been an excess of rain in your area, drain out any extra water from the area if you can. Tulips can't stand having wet feet and drenched soil may mean a swift goodbye to your lovely flowers. You may even consider adding some shredded bark or sand to the area around your tulips to help keep them dry.
    • If you notice that the area you planted your tulips in collects water, you'll likely be better off moving the plant to a drier area. Dig them up taking the surrounding soil with you and find an area that rain falls on, but can drain out of.
  4. Fertilize your tulips.Fertilize your tulips once at the beginning of Fall and once in the beginning of spring for continuous growth. A balanced liquid fertilizer works well about three to four weeks after planting. This is especially important for perennials.
    • Sprinkle or pour about one tablespoon of flower or plant fertilizer around each tulip bulb. This will last them for their entire "hibernation" period in the winter. Tulips are great at storing nutrients for long periods of time.
    • Did you forget to fertilize in the fall? You can use a fast-release nitrogen fertilizer on developing leaves.
    • Tulips are pretty easy in the scheme of things. If you're dealing with annuals, they may not need fertilizer at all. In the right climate, you can plant your tulip and essentially forget about it, no watering or fertilization necessary.

Giving Tulips After-Blooming Care

  1. Check for blights and diseases.Blight (or Tulip Fire) creates brown specks on the leaves and turns the flower grey in color. If any of your bulbs are diseased, dig them up and throw them away to prevent it spreading to other tulips. If only part of the plant is damaged, cut it off to see if you can salvage the plant.
    • The only thing you can do to prevent disease is to adequately care for your tulips. You can only make sure they get a modicum of moisture, a little bit of shade, and are planted in decent, slightly acidic soil.
    • Aphids can be a problem, but they're easily handled with water spray.
  2. Deadhead your tulips after they flower.Tulips produce seeds once they begin to wilt, and these seeds weaken the bulb, making it unattractive. This practice of deadheading is best for perennialsandannuals.Here's how it's done:
    • Take shears and cut off the flower head from the stem once it's fully spent.
    • Leave most of the stem in place for about six weeks or until the foliage starts to yellow.
    • Shear off the leaves at ground level and dispose of the spent plant matter once the six weeks is up. Mark the location, if desired, so you can find the bulbs later.
    • However, don't do this with species tulips. You want them to reproduce with their seeds and turn into an entire colony.
  3. Dig up the bulbs of annuals.Some tulips are annuals, meaning their entire life takes place over the course of one year ‐ they and their offspring won't be coming back. Once all the tulips have bloomed and died, dispose of the entire plant from bulb to tip.
    • Many farmers and gardening enthusiasts prefer annuals when it comes to tulips. They're easy to grow, cheap, and when the year is done, that's it. They can grow more for the next year and experiment with different varieties if they so choose.
  4. Know if your tulip is likely to come back.If you're dealing with a perennial, you've left the bulb in the ground, and you cared for your tulips adequately, you may find that next year you have another crop of beautiful tulips (you may also find that you havetoo many– tulips reproduce quickly). Here are the varieties that are the most likely to come back with practically no effort from you:
    • "Olympic Flame" Tulip
    • "Peppermint Stick" Tulip
    • Crocus Tulip
    • "Negrita" Triumph Tulip
    • "Spring Green" Veridiflora Tulip

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How long should tulips last in a vase?

    Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania.
    Expert Answer
    Once they are in a vase, tulips should last for approximately one week in good health.
  • Question
    How often should you water a tulip?

    Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania.
    Expert Answer
    Tulips require very little water and should only be watered if the soil is completely dry to the touch.
  • Question
    How do you keep tulips in a vase?

    Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania.
    Expert Answer
    You can keep tulips in a vase by placing them in clean and cool water with added flower food then replacing the water every day. Also important to remember is to place the vase out of the sun.
  • Question
    How long do potted tulips last for?

    Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania.
    Expert Answer
    Some types of tulips are annuals and only bloom once while some are perennials and keep coming back year after year.
  • Question
    Can I save bulbs when I take them out and replant them?

    Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania.
    Expert Answer
    Yes. Store them in a cool, dry place. In warmer climates you will actually need to chill the bulbs before replanting them.
  • Question
    How can you tell if your tulips are annuals or perennials?

    Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania.
    Expert Answer
    Whether a tulip is a perennial or an annual depends on your climate. For tulips to be a perennial they need an environment of a cold winter and a hot, dry summer. For climates different than that, you can artificially create these conditions by chilling the bulbs before replanting them.
  • Question
    I was given a tulip as a gift, but all the label tells me is put in bright room, water after an inch of top soil is dry, and fertilize every two weeks. Can I plant this in the ground outside?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes. you can, but still follow the instructions on the label. Plant it in a sunny spot and water and fertilize it regularly. It will bloom every spring. If it starts to look like it will rain hard or snow hard, you can cover it.
  • Question
    Flower are falling off before they even fully bloom. Would squirrels eat the flower tops?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes. Any rodents will eat tulips.
  • Question
    What can I do if my tulip petals are falling off and the stem and leaves are yellow?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    To keep tulips at their best, you can give them lots of sunshine or light and water them at least every other day. If they're dying, you can check the soil, because most flowers only grow and stay bloomed in healthy, earthy soil.
  • Question
    Can I plant bulbs if the roots were just in water?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yep, it helps with some tulip plants. When the roots come out, they will be good for a while and when you plant them you water the tulip.
Unanswered Questions
  • I bought tulips in a temp pot. I live in the Caribbean. How can my tulips continue to bloom?
  • How long do tulips stay in bloom
  • I use gravel as mulch. Can my tulips survive with this type of mulch? My tulips were there before the gravel mulch. Also, how can I prevent my tulips from flopping over?
  • Should I leave my tulip bulbs in the pot they came in or store them some other way?
  • When should the bulbs be dug up and moved?
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Quick Summary

Store tulip bulbs in the refrigerator for up to 2 months and plant in the fall in holes about 3 times their height. Water the bulbs right after you plant, then wait until their leaves sprout to give them another light sprinkling—that’s it! Place 1 spoonful of flower fertilizer around each bulb at the beginning of fall and spring. After your tulips bloom, throw away any flowers with signs of blight, like brown speckled leaves or gray flowers. Then, when the flowers are spent, cut off the flower head to prevent wilting, removing the leaves and stems once they turn yellow.

Did this summary help you?
  • Dig up bulbs after the leaves and stem have browned to acquire more tulip bulbs for planting in other areas.


  • Be cautious about fertilizing tulips immediately after flowering. Doing so can increase the chance of disease.
  • Using more than 2 inches (5.1 cm) of mulch can harm the tulips by causing them to travel too far for sunlight!

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of How to Care for Tulips was reviewed by on July 24, 2019.

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Views: 272,549

Cody Gailey

May 15

"I never know anything about tulips. However, we learn something new every day."

Brenda Taylor

May 12

"I liked the step by step instructions!"

Bradley Brob

Jun 5, 2019

"My wife told me that after the flower is done blooming, you cut the tulip off at the ground. After reading thisarticle, I realize that she's wrong again. I will cut off the flowers and leave them for six weeks, and then cut them off even with the ground. Thank you for sharing this valuable knowledge. Three hundred tulips in my front yard that look gorgeous this spring, and hopefully better next year. "
Rated this article:

Linda Lombardi

May 20, 2019

"The only thing I remembered about tulips (from childhood days) is they were a one time bloomer. I received a pot ofseveral bulbs blooming and when my husband saw the blooms looking so tired, worn out and dead looking he accused me of overwatering. I explained what little I knew so he insisted on looking up growing and caring for tulip plants. Thank you for your help."

Linda Lombardi

May 31, 2019

"The only thing I remembered about tulips is that they were a on-time bloomer. I received a pot of several bulbsblooming and when my husband saw the blooms looking so tired, worn out, and dead-looking he accused me of over-watering. I explained what little I knew, so he insisted on looking up growing and caring for Tulip plants. Thank you for your help."

Brenda Thompson

Mar 21, 2019

"Excellent step-by-step for beginners on what to do when planting tulips. I did not know there are annuals andperennials in tulips. Have no idea what mine are so will find out next year. Have saved this to my reading list on my phone!"

Peter Guntrip

May 1, 2019

"I don't have a green thumb, and most of my gardening experience has ended in disasters. I found this articlehelpful, as it is simple to understand and covers all aspects of cultivating tulips."

Alice Noman

Jan 29, 2019

"I haven't had tulips since I lived in Ohio, and now in southern Georgia. I have always loved them, and am so happyyour page has told me how to grow them here. Thank you very much."

Sandy Renee

Mar 21, 2019

"I learned the two types of tulips, how much space I should use between each tulip to plant them and how deep, andthat they don't require a lot of watering. "

Kathy Davis

Jun 17, 2019

"I was looking for directions on how to care for bulbs after they have finished flowering. This article had goodinformation."

Helen Burford

Apr 23, 2019

"The directions for pruning and feeding were very clear, so we will not have an excuse if there are no tulips nextyear!"
Rated this article:

Sparkle H.

May 31, 2019

"I know now I need to remove the entire bulb after it has died. The tulip lasted maybe a week and that was it."

Sandy L.

May 20, 2019

"Some good information that I did not know regarding tulips."
Rated this article:

P. C.

May 20, 2019

"Article was of help, never realized some tulips are annual."

Kelly M.

Jun 10, 2019

"Learning how to deadhead as growth progresses. Thanks! "
Rated this article:

Faye McKnight

May 20, 2019

"Good article.

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Date: 07.12.2018, 02:50 / Views: 32343