Beginner’s Guide: How to Grow Tulips in Your Garden (Tulip Identification Photos)

Tulips (Tulipa species) are beautiful flowering bulbs. Every perennial garden should have a bed of tulips. Tulips are easy-to-grow perennial flowering bulbs and will reward the gardener with stunning flowers. Here is a beginner’s guide on how to grow tulips in your garden.


Tulips Basics

Botanical NameTulipa species
Flower ColorMany Colors- Pink, Yellow, Orange, Red and More
Height14-30 inches
SunFull Sun
SoilWell drained
Bloom TimeSpring
Plant Depth5 inches
Plant Spacing4 inches apart
Density5 tulips bulbs per sq. ft.
Tulip Facts

Tulips Size

Depending on the tulips species, tulips can grow 14-30 inches tall.

Planting Your Tulips

Where to Plant Tulips

Tulips are happiest in full sun locations. They need to be planted in sunny locations otherwise your tulips will not flower. Tulips bloom best in a sunny location that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight. Plant your tulips in soil with good drainage preferably with pH level of 6-6.5. 

SunFull Sun
SoilWell drained
Tulip Planting Requirements

How to Plant Tulips 

1. Prepare the soil first before planting your tulip bulbs. 

2. Add compost and bulb fertilizer to the soil. 

3. Loosen and aerate the soil to 8 inches below the surface.  

4. Plant tulip bulbs 3x the height of your tulips. If you have deer, rabbits and squirrels in your garden, you need to plant tulip bulbs at least 8 inches deep. If your tulip bulbs are planted too shallow, they will not flower.

Use a bulb planter tool to make planting your bulbs easier.

When is the Best Time to Plant Tulips?

The best time to plant your tulips is in the Fall. However, if you purchased bulbs on sale late in the season, you can still plant your tulips. Make sure you plant your tulip bulbs before the soil freezes.

How Many Tulips Bulbs to Plant in a Flower Bed?

You can plant 5 tulip bulbs per square foot. Use the Bulb Planting calculator below to calculate how many bulbs you need for your garden.

How to Choose Healthy Tulips to Plant?

It’s important to start off with healthy tulip bulbs to ensure blooming success. Don’t waste your time and energy planting bad tulip bulbs. How to tell when tulip bulbs are bad? Bad tulip bulbs will float in water while healthy bulbs will sink. Also, make sure to inspect your tulip bulb, the papery outer covering should be intact.  

Care for Your Tulips

Do You Need to Water Your Tulips every day?

Water your tulips a few times in the Spring when it is growing. When you water your tulips, avoid watering from the top, don’t wet the petals, since it will cause the petals to burn and spot. 

Stop watering your tulips in the summer when your tulips are dormant. Tulips need dry conditions during dormancy. The amount of water it receives from regular rainwater is sufficient during the summer months.

What to Do with Tulips After They Bloom?

You need to deadhead your tulips after it blooms. Deadhead your tulips by cutting off the top 3 inches of the flower stem. Make sure you cut below the seed capsule. Don’t cut the yellowing leaves though. Leave the foliage for at least 6 more weeks, until it turns brown and withers completely. 

The reason why you don’t cut off tulips’ leaves is that it is still continuing to absorb moisture and sunlight to feed the bulb. You need the bulb fed so it will bloom nicely the following year. 

If there are bulbs that failed to bloom or did not bloom nicely, you can remove these and plant fresh bulbs in the Fall.

How Often Should You Fertilize Your Tulips?

You should fertilize your tulips in the early Spring when the shoots emerge. Fertilize again in the Fall before the first snowfall.  For newly planted tulips, fertilize at planting and then again in the early Spring.

What Fertilizer Should You Use on Your Tulips?

Use a fertilizer formulated specifically for bulbs and bonemeal on your tulips. 

Tulips: Cut Flower Tips

When to Harvest Your Tulips for Cut Flowers?

The best time to cut your tulip flowers is in the morning. You can cut your tulips when the buds are green and let them bloom in the vase or you can cut your tulips when its in full bloom. 

Immediately after cutting, put your tulip cuttings in a vase with cold water. 

Troubleshooting Your Tulips

Are Tulips Deer Resistant?

Deer and squirrels love to munch on tulip bulbs. One way to prevent deer and squirrels from destroying your tulips is by planting tulip bulbs near Daffodils. Deer and squirrels dislike daffodils. By planting your tulips near daffodils, it will discourage them from munching on your tulips. You can also try sprinkling bone meal around the bulb plantings. Another deer and squirrel deterrent is to lay a sheet of chicken wire (1-inch opening) over the bulbs. This will prevent squirrels and deer from getting to your tulip bulbs. 

What are the common problems of Tulips?

Common problems for your tulips are blight, virus, and aphids. If you see streaks on the foliage, sickly stems, or spots on the leaves and flowers, then your tulips might have blight or virus. Simply remove the infected tulips. If you see tiny aphids on your tulips, spray tulips with water to remove the aphids.

Preparing Your Tulips for Winter

How Should You Prepare Your Tulips for Winter?

After your tulips have finished blooming, make sure you deadhead your tulips. Wait until the foliage has wilted and browned before cutting it off. In the summer, hand weed around your tulips. In the fall, mulch around your tulips. Feed your tulips with bulb fertilizer and bone meal in the Fall. 

Tulips (Tulipa species): Varieties

Below are popular Tulip varieties with pictures for easy identification.

Tulip AkebonoTulip Akebono
Tulip AngéliqueTulip Angelique
Tulip Banja LukaTulip Banja Luka
Tulip Blushing LadyTulip Blushing Lady
Tulip DordogneTulip Dordogne
Tulip KingsbloodTulip Kingsblood
Tulip MarilynTulip Marilyn
Tulip MaureenTulip Maureen
Tulip MentonTulip Menton
Tulip Mount TacomaTulip Mount Tacoma
Tulip Queen of NightTulip Queen of Night
Tulip Red PurissimaTulip Red Purissima
Tulip SanneTulip Sanne
Tulip Scarlet BabyTulip Scarlet Baby
Tulip Tom PouceTulip Tom Pouce
Tulip VirichicTulip Virichic
Tulip Yume no MurasakiTulip Yume no Murasaki
Tulip Varieties

You May Also Be Interested In Other Tulip Related Articles:

Beginner’s Guide to Tulips (Lots of Tulip Photos for Identification)

Why are Your Tulips Not Flowering?

When Can You Move Your Tulip Bulbs?

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