How to cultivate and tend to tulips

Spring wouldn’t be the same without tulips. The beautiful flowers of these showy bulbs come in almost every color imaginable, from pale pastels to warm, vibrant hues. They are perfect for adding color to borders in April and May and grow very well in pots.

Tulips are spring bulbs, planted in mid to late fall. Tulips are technically perennial, but years of breeding to get the most beautiful flowers mean that many varieties only bloom reliably for one year. Many gardeners plant new bulbs each fall to ensure a good display. If you grow tulips in pots, you must plant fresh bulbs every year.

Some tulips bloom earlier than others – early-blooming varieties bloom from late March to April, mid-season in April to May, and late-blooming varieties bloom in May. You can extend your screens by growing a mix of different types. You can also mix flower shapes, heights and colors. Combining tulips can be an art but you can buy ready mixes to grow, at the garden center or online.

How to grow tulipsPlant tulip bulbs in moist but well-drained soil in a sunny location in mid to late autumn – November is ideal. Plant at least three times the depth of the bulb, pointed ends, about 5cm apart. For the best displays, plant fresh bulbs each fall.

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