Tulip flowers are perennial and with around 150 different species and a variety of colours they will form an attractive addition to any garden. Tulip bulbs can be harvested every year; this means that new growth can be created for the following season. Harvesting and planting tulip bulbs is a manageable task which can be easily mastered by a novice gardener.
Step 1 – Season
The best time to harvest tulip bulbs is during the late summer months or early fall. This will allow for the tulips to bloom fully and for its foliage to start to yellow and die slightly, by allowing this bloom process the tulip will acquire vital nutrients that are needed for next seasons planting. Remove any dead or weak foliage growth from the tulip plant before extracting its bulbs, this will ensure that original tulip remains strong and healthy.
Step 2 – Extracting
Use a hand trowel to dig down into the soil around the tulip plant. The trench will need to be at least 3 inches wider than the tulip plant and be between 6-8 inches deep in order to expose the tulip bulbs. Extract the bulbs and then carefully brush off any excess dirt with a dry cloth. Remove any dead foliage above the bulb crown and then set them aside.
Step 3 – Storage
Prepare a storage bed for the tulip bulbs, as this will keep them separated and support them until they can be planted the following fall. Fill a large plastic container or a shallow box with sand or peat moss. Gently push the tulip bulbs three quarters of the way into the matter ensuring that they are not touching each other. Place the filled storage bed in an area that receives little or no sunlight and has an average temperature of between 60 – 66 degrees Fahrenheit. The filled storage bed can be placed in a refrigerator or in a covered space outdoors to maintain the low temperature. If keeping storage bed in refrigerator, make sure it's separate from other fruits or vegetables.
Step 4 – Maintenance
The tulip bulbs will need to checked and maintained at regular intervals during their time in the storage bed. Remove any diseased or rotten bulbs and scoop out and discard the sand matter that they grew in. This will help to reduce the likelihood of any disease spreading and cut down on rot considerably.
Step 5 – Planting
The new tulip bulbs can be planted in soil during the fall before there is any ground frost as this produce a full bloom the following spring. Ensure that the site will receive plenty of sun and mix the soil with compost as this will enrich the tulip plants with essential nutrients. Once the tulip bulbs have been planted they will need to be watered regularly until the ground temperature drops and the tulips go into dormancy for the winter season.