How to Plant and Care for Tulips

To care for tulips, pay attention to weather conditions, watering, and fertilizing. We'll give you some great recommendations here.
How to Plant and Care for Tulips

Last update: 22 January, 2023

To care for tulips, it’s essential to take care of them from planting. This flower stands out among the most planted to beautify gardens and form special bouquets in interior decoration.

The species stands out in different colors, to which they attribute particular meanings. For example, yellow has to do with friendship and joy; purple is linked to success; red evokes passion, and white, peace. Blue tones are generated by artificial pigmentation and are considered to symbolize tranquility.

It’s easy to go to the florist and order an arrangement of tulips, but if you want them to beautify the green areas of your house, it’s a good idea that you know the secrets of healthy and beautiful tulip cultivation.

Tulips: A flower with some interesting traits

A review of Waste Magazine points out that this flower, whose genus is Tulipa, is cultivated in multiple species around the world, showing the diversity of shapes and colors.

The bulbs are planted in autumn and bloom in spring. Although they usually measure 20 centimeters in height, some tulips may have stems that reach 60 centimeters.

The leaves resemble a flat lance and the petals grow inward, in a globular appearance. The combination of shades in its corollas is one of the main attractions, because it’s not always a uniform color, but admits dyes or blurring.

Lys flower, parrot, botanical tulip and Darwin are the frequent types of Tulips.

tulip bulbs
Autumn is the ideal time for planting the bulbs, just before frost.

Pay attention to the details when planting tulips

There are two basic considerations for planting tulips: one of them has to do with the weather. Strictly speaking, you should plant them before the first frost of the year; otherwise, the cold will destroy the bulbs.

It is preferable to take advantage of the middle months of autumn, so that the dormancy period caused by low temperatures does not harm flowering.

The other point is related to the specimens. It’s essential to select bulbs with thin skin, but that are still resistant to the touch. Discard those that don’t look healthy or are wilted.

Plant them with a universal substrate, in a pot or in the soil itself, respecting a depth of 8 centimeters. Then comes meticulous care.

We think you may be interested in reading this, too: 9 Tricks to Preserve Cut Flowers for a Longer Time

Tips for caring for tulips

Once you plant tulips, it is time to wait 3 to 4 months for the flowers to sprout. Although the buds last about 3 weeks before wilting, it’s worth waiting this long to appreciate this natural beauty.

Next, let’s take a look at the care that a tulip plantation requires.

Good light

Locate tulips in areas where they receive sunlight, although if the environment is very warm, it’s best to look for shaded areas. In addition, it’s important that the bulbs are planted with the wide part towards the bottom so that they don’t grow upside down and are nourished with good radiation.

Measured watering

Moderation is key in watering, to prevent waterlogging and drowning of the plant. Check the substrate before pouring water into the pot, so you can verify if it really needs it.

Both in pots and in the garden soil, it’s better to use a watering can, because hoses dispense a stronger and more aggressive jet to the bulbs.

Hydration for these flowers is 2 to 3 times a week when they’re indoors. Outside, watering isn’t necessary, as long as it rains frequently. In any case, the substrate has to be kept slightly moist.

Respect the time of fertilization

The fertilization of tulips should be done once a year, in the middle of autumn planting. This is the proper technique so that as root development occurs, the bulb gets the nutrients that will make it grow strong and bloom healthy.

Make sure to put a time-release fertilizer on the top layer of soil, so that it releases nourishment little by little, so as not to spoil the roots.

Universal fertilizer is widely recommended, but vermicomposting or vermicomposting is equally acceptable, for its role as a bio controller against different pests, according to an essay published in the Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Agrícolas.

In this regard, Acta Zoológica Mexicana reports numerous studies on the benefit of worm humus for the growth of plant species, since it is a mechanism that stimulates the supply of nutrients, improves the substrate, and provides favorable microorganisms in the production of phytohormonal substances.

Timely cleaning

Do not tear off the petals at the first signs of wilting. Delay cleaning until the leaves and stem look yellow; this implies at least 5 weeks. One advantage is that you dig up the bulbs, clean them, store them in a cool place and plant them next fall.

To care for tulips you should space the specimens

How striking is a row colored with tulips! However, that fine presence is possible as long as you space each bulb 5 to 10 centimeters apart when planting. The goal is to give them enough room to germinate properly.

Disease protection

According to a University of Illinois publication, tulips are sometimes affected by a fungus called Botrytis and a virus known as “mosaic”.

Fusarium or root rot is another pathology that harms tulips. To heal the plant, it’s necessary to exclude rotten and moldy bulbs, in addition to applying botanical disinfectants.

For its part, the bulletin of the Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias mentions that the factors that predispose the plant to disease should be minimized, such as the following:

  • Flooded soils
  • Inadequate drainage
  • Little air and low porosity
  • Wounds caused by man and microorganisms

Common symptoms of a diseased flower can be visible through malformations, color variations, and a lack of vigor.

watering your garden
Select the type of irrigation carefully, as very powerful jets can damage the plant.

Like this article? You may also like to read: Man Plants 1000s of Flowers for Blind Wife in Act of Love

What to do to care for water-grown tulips

Some species of tulips can be grown in water. These cases require a different type of care. The most important thing is to have a wide glass container, to include stones in the bottom of the jar and, on them, the specimens.

Fill the container to a height that allows only the contact of the roots with the liquid and take it to an area where it receives sun and air. By the third week, the bulbs will break and the stems will begin to sprout. During the process, change the water regularly.

Taking proper care of tulips helps to take advantage of their properties

Aside from being beautiful, these flowers have properties related to medicinal issues. Following the proper guidelines for planting and caring for tulips is necessary to properly enjoy them.

The Institute of Ecology points out that the juice extracted by squeezing the petals of one of the species helps to alleviate the dermal discomfort caused by measles; they add that the tulip is a potent antimicrobial against canker sores. As if that weren’t enough, this flower is even recommended as an ingredient in preparations to help with tonsillitis and diarrhea.

Likewise, its chemical compounds are associated with skin care and the prevention of hair loss. More research is needed on the subject, but aphrodisiac qualities are also attributed to tulips.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.