Taking Care of Tulips

by April Reinhardt
(last updated January 22, 2013)

I'll always remember the thrill I experienced the first time I had a home of my own where I was able to plant flowers and see them bloom to glorious fruition. The best part about growing flowers was that they required little maintenance, since I had chosen to plant bulbs. As if by magic, the bulbs I had planted in late fall emerged from the still-snowy ground the following early February, reaching through the cold ground for the bright sunshine overhead. Having nearly forgotten that I had planted them, I walked onto the front porch that cold February morning and spied from the corner of my eye their emerald green finger-like stems just starting to poke through the snow. Several weeks later, the flowerbed was filled with bunches of pastel crocuses, framed on either side by giant hyacinths, with a dramatic backdrop of towering tulips.

Planting, growing, and maintaining tulips are all easily accomplished. As with all bulb plants, digging the shallow hole is the hardest part of the entire planting process. Here are the steps for planting, growing, and taking care of tulips:

  1. Buy healthy bulbs. I've had great luck buying bulbs from flower houses online. Simply choose from the pictures what types of tulips you'd like, and order the bulbs. A reputable dealer will ship your bulbs according to the zone in which you will plant them. In other words, since I live in a cold-climate zone, my dealer ships my bulbs when it's time to plant them. As soon as they arrive, I put them in the ground.
  2. Plant correctly. Choose a sunny location to plant your bulbs. Dig holes at least 6 inches deep, and place one bulb per hole, with the pointed side up. Since bulbs will eventually double and triple, plant each bulb at least three inches apart. Cover the bulbs with dirt and then thoroughly water.
  3. Protect the bulbs. Small animals will dig up your bulbs if you don't protect them. Spray animal repellant spray or place a fence around your flowerbed.

You should not water the flowerbed until the tulips emerge in the spring. Overwatering before the plants grow can cause the bulbs to rot in the soil. Once the tulips start to grow, weed the bed and check for aphid infestation. If you want to cut your tulips and bring them indoors into a vase, add a little sugar to the water and the blooms will last longer. Consider digging up the bulbs at the end of the growing season and placing them in a dark container until its time to replant them in the fall.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


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