How to plant tulip bulbs

Fall-bulous Spring Flowers

A bright, stunning six-petal flower, tulips are perennial, which means that once they’re planted, they bloom year after year. Tulips come in many colors, shapes and sizes with more than 3,000 different varieties. Tulips are native to Eastern Turkey and the foothills of the Himalayas and grow best in areas with cold winters and hot, dry summers. However, if you live in a warmer region, they will grow if you plant bulbs every fall. Once the bulbs are planted, the scene is set for these showy flowers to sprout and bloom during the early spring.

What you will need:

•    Small shovel, tulip bulbs, bulb fertilizer, dry soil

  1. Place bulbs in the ground during the fall about six to eight weeks before the first hard frost.
  2. Plant bulbs in an area with full or afternoon sun. Avoid planting them close to foundations, which provides warmth during winters. Bulbs need the cold to take root.
  3. Before planting, prepare the soil by removing rocks and weeds. Mix in plenty of organic material and fertilizer.
  4. Plant bulbs in well-drained soil. Tulips do not grow well with too much moisture.
  5. Space the bulbs four to six inches apart and at least six to eight inches deep from the base of the bulb. The bigger the bulb, the deeper the hole.
  6. Place the bulb, pointy end up to allow it to sprout easily. Then cover the bulbs with soil and press firmly.
  7. Lightly water your bed after you’ve planted the bulbs to help start the growing process; if you water them too much, they will decay and die.
  8. Fertilize bulbs with a special bulb fertilizer found at a local hardware or gardening store. Fertilizer costs $5 to $30. Ask the specialist which brand is best for your tulip bed.
  9. Watch them grow! Tulips pop up early in the spring. Little green sprouts will poke out of the soil where the bulbs were planted. The colder the weather, the longer it takes for the flowers to bloom.

Find more about tulip bulbs at these websites:
•    Almanac.com
•    Tulips.com

Expert tulip tips

  • Remove the flower from the stem after the bloom has wilted. Allow the stem to turn yellow for about six weeks before trimming it at ground level. Yellowing stems help new bulbs form.
  • Certain tulip species can be left in the ground for several years. Others will need to be lifted mid summer. The bulb dug up mid summer is the daughter to the bulb planted the previous fall.
  • For long vase life, cut tulip stems diagonally, wrap the top in a funnel of paper and stand them in cool water for about two hours. Recut the stems. The tulips will last about one week.

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