Tulips have always been admired for their stately grace and streamlined majesty. Blending beautifully in both conservative and contemporary designs, tulips can add a touch of class to any garden. If you are planning to use tulips in your garden motif, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that your tulips are both attractive and healthy.
Select Good Bulbs
Choosing healthy bulbs is the first step to growing beautiful tulips. Selecting individual bulbs gives you the opportunity to choose only the best ones. Containers of bulbs may be less expensive, but you are less likely to receive a good portion of quality bulbs this way. Bulbs should be large in size, with no cracks or signs of rotting on the outside of the bulb.
Tulips bloom best when planted in the autumn months before the first frost, typically around October or November. Choose a location that receives ample sunlight and does not retain too much water. Too much moisture will cause the bulbs to rot. Preparing the soil before planting your tulips will provide an extra boost in their health and beauty. Soil should be worked and loosened well. Try to work a depth of at least six inches of soil. Compost, peat moss, bone meal or fertilizers designed for bulbs can be added while working the soil to promote growth.
Plant your tulips approximately 4 or 5 inches into the soil. Light soil and exceptionally frigid climates may require you to plant your bulbs slightly deeper.
TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Karen Bosin adds, "Bulbs look best when they are massed together, not planted 6 inches apart. The best way to plant tulips is to dig a large hole, 5 to 6 inches deep and at least 2 feet wide and long. After you dig the hole, place the tulip bulbs--pointy end up--right next to each other--at least 25 bulbs in one hole."
The wide base of the bulb should always be planted facing down. After you have planted your bulbs, lightly pack the soil on top of them and give them a light watering. If winters are especially cold in your region, a light covering of mulch may be beneficial. Otherwise, little winter maintenance is necessary.
In the early spring, any mulch or covering can be removed from the tulip bed. When tulips are in bloom, keep an eye out for aphid infestations.
TIP: Karen says, "Aphids, etc. are really a non-issue. Tulips bloom for about a week to ten days in the best of circumstances, so don't worry too much about such pests."
Blooms can be cut to be used for floral arrangements. You can also hang cut flowers upside down to dry. Both live and dry tulip arrangements are quite attractive. If you do not cut your blooms for display, then you should cut them as soon as they begin to fade to ensure healthy growth next season.