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How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Tulips

Long live the tulip! These beautiful jewels brighten up our spring days. We’re really looking forward to seeing these blue-green leaves as the earth awakens from its hibernation! Here are our tips for caring for tulips.

About Tulips
Tulips usually emerge from the ground in late winter or early spring. When unusually mild winter weather leads to premature growth, the danger is not as great as it might seem. Tulips (and daffodils too) are quite cold tolerant. However, when frigid winter temperatures return, it may retard growth. Snow is actually helpful in this case as it can insulate foliage from extreme cold.


Plant in the fall for spring blooms!
Tulip bulbs are planted in the fall before the ground freezes. By planting varieties with different flowering times, you can have tulips bloom from early to late spring. Some species do well for flowering indoors, and most make excellent cut flowers too.

Tulip flowers are usually cup-shaped with three petals and three sepals. There is a tulip for every setting, from small ‘species’ tulips in naturalized woodland to larger tulips that suit formal garden plantings from beds to borders. The upright flowers can be single or double and vary in shape from simple cups, bowls and mugs to more complex shapes. Height ranges from 6 inches to 2 feet. A tulip grows on each stem, with two to six broad leaves per plant.


Are Tulips Annual or Perennial Bulbs?
Although tulips are technically a perennial, many centuries of hybridization have meant that the bulb’s ability to come back year after year has been weakened. Therefore, many gardeners treat them as annuals and plant new bulbs every fall. The North American climate and soil cannot reproduce the ancient Anatolian and southern Russian conditions of their birth. Gardeners in the western mountainous regions of the US come closest to this climate and may have more success propagating their tulips.