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.
What - We always recommend buying tulip bulbs from reputable sources. Cheaper does not mean better - cheaper means a smaller bulb, smaller flowers and a less vigorous plant. Size matters! The larger the bulb, the bigger and better the flower.
When - Tulips are planted in the late fall, and are hardy in Zones 3 - 7. Plant before the ground freezes, typically in October and November. But, remember that planting time varies from region to region. Plant after the soil has cooled to 60 degrees (or lower).
Where - Choose a location that receives good sunlight and has well-drained soil. Too much moisture may rot the bulbs.
How - Prepare the soil before planting by removing any rocks or weeds. Loosen up the soil, and try to work a depth of at least six inches of soil. Although tulips are easy to grow, they will benefit from an addition of some peat moss and fertilizer to the soil. Plant your tulips approximately 4 - 5 inches into the soil, or at a depth twice the diameter of the bulb. The wide base of the bulb should always be planted facing down. After planting, 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 help. Otherwise, you can leave them alone until spring!
Extras - Plan ahead! Before you plant your bulbs, think about design. Resist the temptation to plant them in a long, single row! Tulips look best when planted in informal groups of odd numbers ( 5 to 11) or as a block of color with 25 or more bulbs. Choose varieties with different flowering times to extend the bloom season. We think tulips look their best when planted in combination with annual or early flowering perennials.
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