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Ever visited a botanical spring garden and marveled at the rainbow array of tulips in different colors? They are indeed the queens of all flowers, there is no surprise why flower-lovers end up growing tulips in their own home gardens and flower beds. 

Tulips are iconic flowering spring bulbs and will fill your garden with color before other flowers gain momentum. They are usually showy and brightly colored blossoms with a cup-shape. 

Some are single-colored while others have stripes, swirls, margines, or flames on the bottom. But they come in rainbow colors making them a unique group of blooms for your garden. They have bulbs as their storage organs and consist mainly of six petals and sepals. 

Read on below to learn more about growing tulips, including tips and FAQs!

Growing Tulips

Red, yellow, and pink tulips growing in a field.

Growing Tulips is one of the easiest home gardening activities out there involving gorgeous flowers. Simply plant the bulbs an inch or two under the soil, water them thoroughly, and leave them to work their own magic. Several weeks later, their green foliage will pop up through the earth followed by their distinct and colorful blooms appearing a few days to weeks later!

Quick Tulip Growing Information

How much light is needed:Tulips will do best with plenty of sunlight, which means at least 6 hours of full bright, direct sunlight per day.
How much water is needed:If you are experiencing a dry spell and it’s hardly raining, you should water the bulbs weekly
Is it best to start with seeds or plants:Usually grown from bulbs even though flowers do produce seeds, they can take years for seeds to germinate to form bulbs and produce flowers
The best month to plant:In colder climates, it is best to plant in the Autumn 6 to 8 weeks before the ground freezes that should be September and October but in warmer climates plant tulips in December.
Preferred climate/temperature:It is good to plant tulips when temperatures are between 40 to 50 degrees 
Is indoor or outdoor growing better:Growing tulips indoors is called forcing and it is always on any gardener’s mind especially when the weather is fierce. But tulips are best grown outside and look great if planted in 50 or more.
Do indoor plants need to be pollinated:It’s not necessary as tulips are self-pollinating plants, this means that the flower can transfer pollen from the anthers to the stigma without being pollinated
Level of difficulty to grow:It is hard but not impossible to grow tulips in warm tropical regions because the bulbs need a period of cold for growth and development. Other than that it is easy to maintain and they are a good garden choice for any beginner or pro.
Plant height:Tulips are regularly small in size, their height ranges from 3 to 8 inches.  
Time from planting to harvest:Time your chilling period so the bulbs go into the ground in November or cold treat your bulbs by placing them in bags punched with holes in a refrigerator for 10 to 16 weeks. After the tulip comes into spring temperature they will sprout and the leaves will quickly emerge and start producing flowers in 15 to 30 days.

About Tulips

Tulips are believed to have originated in the mountain slopes of Turkey, they were referred to as the symbol of the royal court of Turkey as early as the 1500s and it was until the 1600s that they arrived in the Netherlands. 

When they did they caused an outbreak that came to be known as, ‘tulip mania’ where a single bulb of tulip was more valuable than the most expensive house. These gorgeous blooms have always turned heads wherever they went as they still do today. 

Tulips are a symbol of beauty and status. Back then it was deemed proof of bad taste to be without these beautiful flowers in your garden. Today the flowers are still loved by the world and are much more affordable with some still very luxurious with a price tag to match.

Tips for Growing Tulips

Several pink tulips with green foilage on a black background.

1. Plant your tulips a little deeper

Dig a hole that is 3 times the height of the bulbs. In sandy soil, plant the bulbs a bit deeper. This brings out a cooling effect to your tulips and prevents them from drying out.

2. Clip the fading blooms

When these blooms fade, remove only the flower head and not the foliage, this will keep the tulips from creating seeds. The tulips need their foliage to gather energy for next years blooms after. But, after the foliage turns yellow, you should trim it back to the ground and let the Tulips reserve the energy and nutrients they’ve gathered.

3. Protect your tulips from critters.

It’s really unfortunate that chipmunks and squirrels find tulips very tasty. You can add smelly protection like farmyard manure immediately after planting and cover with mulch. Further, certain insects love their lovely scent. To learn how to protect your tulips organically, check out our easy organic pest control guide.

Tulip Growing FAQs

Beautiful white tulips growing in a garden surrounded by fruit trees and other flowers.

Why are my tulips short?

Tulips’ bulbs need an amount of time in cold temperatures to develop certain growth hormones. This happens naturally in the winter. If they don’t have enough chilling time the resulting plants may be short. It is also a result of too much heat as the plant is too stressed to grow.

Are Tulip annuals or perennials plants?

Tulips are perennials but through centuries of hybridizing means, the bulbs’ ability to come back year after year has weakened, therefore many gardeners treat them as annuals, planting every new bulb every autumn.

Should I deadhead my Tulips (and if so, when?)

Tulips should be deadheaded as soon as they’ve finished their blooming phase for the year. This helps the Tulip build up energy and nutrients to store in its bulb. Once the foliage begins dying, it should be cut down to ground level as well.

Why didn’t as many tulip flowers come up the second year as they did the first year?

It could be that you purchased a tulip that doesn’t fare well with your climate. Another reason is that once you force a tulip, you can’t force it a second time. Hence, it is unlikely to flower again. Or you may need to add peat moss or sand to your soil this will help the tulips to drain water properly. You also may require to check tulip if it is in a well-lit area of your yard or room.

Suggested Reading: GROWING ROSES: A QUICK GUIDE

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