Tips & Growing Instructions: Tulips
Tulips and other Dutch bulbs grow well in any average garden soil with good drainage. It is desirable, however, to break up heavy soils before planting and work in some compost or peat to a depth of 10–12" to keep the soil loose. Before your bulbs arrive, you can improve poor soil by adding some organic matter in the form of compost or aged manure and working it thoroughly into the existing soil. After this has been done and a few days have passed to allow the soil to settle, you can plant your bulbs. How deep should they be planted? For recommended planting depths and spacing, see the Breck’s® Planting Guide for Fall.
When growing your tulips in containers, avoid placing the container in direct sunshine. The soil needs to remain cool so the bulb doesn¹t prematurely receive signals that spring has arrived. If the sun warms the soil in the container too early, the bulb will send up shoot and flower before an adequate root system has developed. Keeping the soil cool for as long as possible will encourage the strongest and most expansive root system possible.
Perennial tulips are special because, unlike many hybrids, they come back reliably year after year. Besides choosing a truly perennial variety, there are a few steps you can take to ensure perennial performance… Plant bulbs in well-drained soil. This will help naturalizing or perennializing and cut down on the risk of disease and fungus. Plant bulbs deep. Measuring from the base of the bulb, place the tulip about 6” inches deep. Water after planting. This will ensure that your tulips develop a strong root system before going into winter dormancy. After the blossoms have peaked, remove the flower heads and allow the green foliage to die back. Fertilize in fall and spring.
Tulips are very easy to grow. Most gardeners plant their bulbs in November in full sun. Place your tulips about 6” deep in moderately loamy soil with some humus and sand added. After flowering, allow bulb foliage to wither before cutting – that way, sap in the foliage returns to the bulb where it provides added strength for next year.
Darwinhybrids are tulips beloved for their large, egg-shaped blooms and tall, strong stems that can withstand the wind and the rain. They are cultivated extensively as cut flowers due to their size, sturdiness and wide range of bright colours. Darwinhybrids are among the best tulips blooming for up to five years each spring when care is taken to remove their faded blooms. For best results, plant them in fertile, well-drained soil where they will receive a good amount of morning sunshine but will not be subjected to too much direct afternoon sunlight during hot weather. Some of our favorites are Sun Gold Jumbo, Halley’s Comet and Guinevere Jumbo Perennial Tulips.
Care in Lifting - You may choose to lift your tulips after the foliage has ripened. This is not necessary with hardy perennial varieties. If you lift, store the bulbs in a dry place during the summer and replant them next fall in fresh soil – this will reduce the risk of disease. Each year before replanting, inspect your bulbs for bruises or cuts that may allow diseases to enter and then spread to other bulbs. This is essential since an infection of the incurable disease ‘Fire’ (Boyrytis) will require you to burn all your tulips!