When to Plant Tulip? Right Time to Plant Tulip Bulbs: Step by Step Guide

When to Plant Tulip?

Planting Tulips: When & How to Plant Tulip?: Hardly any other flower awakens spring feelings in us as much as the tulip. It belongs to the lily family (Liliaceae) and provides excellent, colorful accents in any garden. It originated in the steppes of southeastern Europe and Asia, but nowadays, it is also native to our temperate latitudes, and it is hard to imagine our gardens without it. It does not make high demands on its location and nevertheless rewards its gardeners with a lush display of flowers.

However, if you want to have a particularly long and vigorous flowering, you should already consider some things when planting. Our article tells you when to plant tulips, which is the perfect location to plant tulips, and how to proceed when planting tulip bulbs.

When to Plant Tulip? The Right Time to Plant Tulip Bulbs


When to Plant Tulip? The Right Time to Plant Tulip Bulbs


It is a question many amateur gardeners ask themselves. There are two ways to plant tulip bulbs: either plant your tulips in the fall, or you can plant them in the spring. It is better to plant them in the fall for most tulip bulbs. It would help if you planted your favorite tulip varieties in the bed between early September and mid-November.

To give the bulbs an ideal start, the temperatures must be already permanently below 10°C – but no night frosts should be expected during the following week. Later, winter frosts do not bother the colorful ornamental plants; on the contrary: the frost kills germs and pests in the soil, and the tulip bulbs are protected from rotting.

In addition, soil moisture plays a significant role in the ideal planting time for tulip bulbs. Therefore, choose a day when the soil is neither too dry nor too wet. Those who neglected to put their tulip bulbs in the fall do not have to despair. You can also plant your tulips in the spring, starting in mid-May. The important thing here is that the bulbs are already pre-germinated. You can either buy already germinated tulip bulbs or pre-germinated them yourself.

So, if you ask when to plant tulips, the perfect time to plant tulip bulbs:

  • Planting tulips in autumn: from September to mid-November.
  • Temperatures below 10°C
  • No night frosts
  • Not too dry or too wet time
  • Planting tulip bulbs in spring: From mid-May

The Right Location for Tulips

The right location to plant tulips is necessary. Tulips do not make great demands on their location, but above all, they like it as sunny and warm as possible. Plenty of sunlight promotes growth and flowering, and it also makes it easier for the bulbs to mature in the summer to bloom profusely again the following year.

Tulips prefer to thrive in well-drained soil. If the soil in your garden does not meet this requirement, you can mix in some sand when planting tulips. It loosens the soil and prevents waterlogging. The risk of the tulip bulbs rotting is then significantly lower. A pH value between 6.5 and 7 is ideal for tulips.

The ideal location for tulips at a glance:

  • Sunny and warm
  • Well-drained, airy soil
  • Nutrient-rich
  • Avoid waterlogging
  • Ideal pH value: 6.5 to 7.0

Planting Tulips in the Bed: How to Proceed

Once the perfect location for your tulips in the garden has been found, planting can begin. First, prepare the bed by loosening the soil well and removing weeds and stones. If the soil is too firm and not permeable enough, it is better to lay a drainage layer, such as gravel. Now enrich the soil with a fertilizer with long-term organic effect.

Tips: If your soil is too acidic, you should also apply lime before planting to raise the pH.

Then dig planting holes and put the bulbs in them. It is essential here that the shoot axis always points upwards. Finally, cover the planted tulip bulbs with soil and water them.

Planting Tulips: Step-by-Step Instructions


Planting Tulips: Step-by-Step Instructions


  • Loosen the soil
  • If necessary, create drainage
  • Lime the soil if it is too acidic
  • Work compost or a fertilizer with long-term organic effect into the soil
  • Dig a planting hole
  • Insert the tulip bulb into the planting hole so that the shoot axis of the tulip bulb points upwards.
  • Cover with soil
  • Watering

Planting Depth of Tulip Bulbs

An important question when planting tulips is how deep to plant tulip bulbs. Here you can follow a simple rule of thumb: Always plant tulip bulbs three times as deep as tall when measured along the shoot axis. However, this only applies to planting in the fall. It’s different for pre-pulled tulip bulbs set in the spring. Here, you should note that the tulip bulb’s top one to two centimeters protrudes from the soil.

The planting hole should always be twice as wide in diameter as the tulip bulb. As for the planting distance, you should be guided by the size of the tulip variety. A planting distance of ten centimeters is sufficient for small types, and for larger tulip varieties, it can be as much as 20 centimeters.

Rules of Thumb for Planting Tulips

  • Width of the planting hole: twice as wide as the tulip bulb.
  • Planting depth: three times as deep as the bulb
  • Planting distance: small tulip varieties approx. 10 cm, large tulips approx. 20 cm

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Tip: Tulip bulbs planted in clusters will later create a lusher picture in the garden than widely scattered tulips.

Planting Tulips in A Pot


Planting Tulips in A Pot


Tulips can also be planted in pots without any problems. The procedure is the same as for planting tulips in a bed. For planting tulips in the pot are particularly suitable varieties with a relatively low growth height (maximum 30 centimeters). A well-known example is the multi-flowered wild tulip (Tulipa praestans) with a growth height of 15 to 20 centimeters. To plant tulip bulbs in pots, you should first create a drainage layer of clay shards or expanded clay in the pot. Then enrich the substrate with organic flower fertilizer with long-term organic effect to create the best growing conditions for your tulips. Then plant the bulbs in the pots as described above.

Planting tulip bulbs in a pot at a glance:

  • Choose small varieties of tulips
  • Create a drainage layer in the pot
  • Enrich substrate with an organic flower fertilizer
  • Fill the pot two thirds full with the substrate
  • Place tulip bulbs in the pot with the shoot axis pointing upwards
  • Cover with substrate
  • Watering

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Final Thoughts: When to Plant Tulip?

You should not only be worried about when to plant tulips but also you need to take aftercare properly. Tulips are very frugal and require little care. It is essential to regularly provide the flowers with fertilizer and water them during prolonged dry periods. For lush blooms, tulips need the right fertilizer. So make the tulip grow without any hazard; you should take good care of your plants.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What month do you plant tulips?

The ideal month or time to plant tulips is in the fall. It’s because they need a long period with cool soils to grow eventually in the spring.

Can I plant tulips in the spring?

While it’s not the most recommended, you can still plant tulips in the spring. But it has to be as early in the spring as possible.

How do you plant tulips in the ground?

Pick a soil spot with a well-draining system that gets sunlight. Then plant the tulip bulbs around 5 to 7 inches deep with their heads straight.

Do tulips need sun?

Absolutely. So if possible, plant tulips in places where they’ll get the full sunlight for them to grow in full size.

Elysha Murphy

I'm Elysha Murphy, the creator of Easier Gardening. I am very passionate about gardening, and love sharing everything I learn about them.

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