Tulip Bulbs - A Quick Guide
Tulips offer the widest variety of colour, shape and size of all the spring-flowering bulbs. From the unusual, large flowered peony-type tulip ‘Ice Cream’ to the familiar cup shaped blooms of the tulip 'Everlasting Mixed', there’s a tulip for everyone. There are more than 150 species of tulip with 30,000 registered varieties, so there certainly are lots of options to choose from.
Where to plant tulips
Plant tulips into a position with well drained soil that receives full sun. If your soil is very acidic, you may wish to neutralise it with lime. Tulips grow in a range of locations from beds and borders to rockeries and containers, but wherever you decide to grow these vibrant blooms, do make sure you protect the slender stems from strong winds. Choose short stemmed varieties like tulip ‘Ice Stick’
for more exposed areas.
How to plant tulips
Wait until the end of autumn to plant your tulip bulbs. This is later than other spring bulbs; you should aim to get them into the ground from November through to December. Planting depth varies according to the variety and the size of the bulb, but as a general rule get your bulbs 20cm deep. Always check the packet for precise details before planting. Space your tulip bulbs 10-20 cm apart in the ground but plant much closer in a pot or container. Find out how to use your tulips in a mixed bulb lasagne in a container in our tulip growing guide.
How to care for tulips
Keep the soil around your tulip bulbs moist but never waterlogged, watering regularly during dry spells. Feed your bulbs twice a year, once when the flower buds appear and again when flowering has finished.
Tulips make perfect cut flowers and for longevity should always be cut first thing in the morning when they’re at their most hydrated. Remove dead blooms and foliage through the flowering season and when your tulips have finished, either dig them up and keep them in a cool, dry and dark place until you replant them in late autumn, or leave them in the ground to naturalise over time.
Tulips are a must for anyone who enjoys a vibrant display of spring blooms and are a great way to create lots of interest in the garden before your summer annuals and perennials come into flower. For more helpful advice on planting tulip bulbs and lots of other fantastic spring bulbs in our spring bulbs guide.