Optimum Planting Time: September – November
Flowers: March - April
Where to plant
Tulips flourish in well-drained fertile soil in full sun.
How to plant in the ground
1. We recommend you plant your tulips slightly later than daffodils, in late October and November. This reduces the risk of the bulbs being affected by viruses.
2. Prepare poor soils for planting tulips by applying a slow-release fertiliser like Gro-Sure Slow Release Plant Food. If you have heavy soil, add a good quality compost and horticultural grit to improve drainage and give your bulbs the best start.
3. Using either a trowel or a bulb planter dig holes at least three times the depth of the bulb, approximately 10cm deep and spaced about 15cm apart.
4. Place a bulb in each hole, making sure that the tip of the bulb is pointing upwards. Then fill the hole, firming the soil gently around the bulb.
5. Water in after planting.
How to plant in containers
1. Bulbs don’t like waterlogged soil, so place crocks (bits of broken pots) at the bottom of the pot to cover the drainage holes and stop them clogging up with compost.
2. Fill the container with bulb compost or multi-purpose compost to around 20cm below the rim.
3. Place the tulip bulbs on the compost, spaced around 5-8cm apart with the tips of the bulbs pointing upwards.
4. Cover with compost up to around 3cm from the rim of the container. Firm the compost down gently and water well.
5. Place the container in a sheltered position (for example, against the wall of a house) over autumn and winter. When shoots start to appear, move the container to a sunny position where you can enjoy the display.
1. Once shoots appear, feed tulips every 7-10 days with a liquid feed high in potash like tomato feed. Stop feeding once the foliage starts to die back. This helps the bulbs to store food for next year’s flowers.
2. Deadhead tulips as soon as the flowers drop their petals.
3. Wait until the leaves turn yellow and die back before removing them, to allow the plants to make and store enough food for next year’s flowers.
4. If your soil is free-draining, you can leave your tulip bulbs in the ground to flower again next year.
Pests and Diseases
Tulips can be damaged by slugs and snails, so we recommend applying slug deterrents or placing copper tape around pots.
Rodents, especially squirrels, can also be a problem. Peg chicken wire down over areas where bulbs are planted to stop squirrels digging them up.
Plants can also be affected by tulip fire, which is a fungal disease that produces brown spots on leaves and petals, and twisted, withered leaves. Check bulbs before planting and remove any that show signs of decay or black spots. Don’t replant tulips in areas where tulip fire has occurred.