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A winter's Sun on Dutch tulips.

See how to grow tulips!

Credit: Karen Oudeman

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Botanical name: Tulipa

Plant type: Flower

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun

Soil type: Sandy

Flower color: Red, Pink, Orange, Yellow, Green, Purple, White, Multicolor

Bloom time: Spring

Long live the tulip! We can buy tulip bulbs in virtually all colors, including a purple so deep that it looks black. And by planting a selection of varieties of this perennial, we can enjoy their beauty from early spring through early summer.

Tulips do best in areas with dry summers and cold winters. The brightly colored, upright flowers may be single or double, and vary in shape from simple cups, bowls, and goblets to more complex forms. They are excellent in beds and borders; many types are good for forcing into bloom indoors, and most are excellent for cut flowers.

Although tulips are a perennial, many gardeners treat them as annuals, to be planted anew each year. The North American climate and soil can't replicate the ancient Anatolian and southern Russian conditions of their birth. Gardeners in our western mountain regions come closest to this climate.


  • Nature never intended for bulbs to loll about above ground, so don't delay planting the bulbs after purchase.
  • Plant tulip bulbs in the fall, 6 to 8 weeks before a hard frost is expected and when soils are below 60 degrees F. (See our frost charts.) This timing ranges from early autumn (Zone 4) to late autumn (warmer zones).
  • Tulips prefer a site with full or afternoon sun. In Zones 7 and 8, choose a shady site or one with morning sun only.
  • All tulips dislike excessive moisture. Ideally, the soil is well-drained, neutral to slightly acidic, fertile, and dry or sandy.
  • Rainy summers, irrigation systems, and wet soil are death to tulips. Never deliberately water a bulb bed. Wet soil leads to fungus and disease and can rot bulbs. Add shredded pine bark, sand, or anything to foster swift drainage.
  • You'll want to space bulbs 4 to 6 inches apart, so choose an appropriate plot size.
  • To deter mice and moles—if they have been a problem—put holly or any other thorny leaves in the planting holes. Some gardeners use kitty litter or crushed gravel.
  • If ravenous rodents are a real problem, you may need to take stronger measures, such as planting bulbs in a cage of wire.
  • Plant bulbs deep—at least 8 inches, measuring from the base of the bulb. And that means digging even deeper, to loosen the soil and allow for drainage, or creating raised beds. Remember, the bigger the bulb, the deeper the hole it needs.
  • Set the bulb in the hole with the pointy end up. Cover with soil and press soil firmly.
  • Water bulbs right after planting. Although they can't bear wet feet, bulbs need water to trigger growth.
  • If you're planning to raise perennial tulips, feed them when you plant them in the fall. Bulbs are their own complete storage system and contain all of the nutrients they need for one year. Use organic material, compost, or a balanced time-release bulb food.


  • Water tulips during dry spells in the fall; otherwise, do not water.
  • Compost annually.
  • Deadhead tulips after flowering.
  • Allow the foliage to yellow for about 6 weeks after flowering before removing it.
  • The bulbs of Species tulips may be left in the ground for several years; others may be lifted annually, once the leaves have died down, and ripened in a warm, dry place.
  • Replant the largest bulbs; smaller bulbs may be grown in containers in a bulb frame, in mix of equal parts loam, leaf mold, and sharp sand. When in growth, water moderately, applying a balanced liquid fertilizer weekly for 3 or 4 weeks after flowering; keep dry in summer, and repot annually.


Recommended Varieties

Tulip flowers may be single, double, ruffled, fringed, or lily-shaped, depending on the variety.

Wild, or Species, tulips are small in size, ranging in height from 3 to 8 inches. They are tougher than hybrids. They also bloom in the South and looks best when planted as a carpet of color. One of our favorites is 'Lilac Wonder'.

Triumph hybrids are the classic single, cup-shape tulip that make up the largest grouping of tulip types. Top varieties:

  • 'Cracker tulip' is a midspring bloomer with purple, pink, and lilac petals.
  • 'Ile de France' is a midseason bloomer, with its intensely red blooms on stems to 20 inches tall.
  • 'Calgary' is a midspring bloomer with snowy-white petals and blue-green foliage.

There are so many beautiful varieties of tulips. Explore catalogs and experiment in your garden!

Wit & Wisdom

  • Did you know: If you dig up a tulip bulb in midsummer, it's not the same bulb you planted last fall. It's her daughter. Even while the tulip is blossoming, the bulb is dividing for the next generation.
  • To get the longest vase life, cut tulip stems diagonally, then wrap the upper two-thirds of the flowers in a funnel of newspaper and stand them in cool water for an hour or two. Then, recut the stems and the tulips will last at least a week.
  • In 17th-century Holland, the new tulip was such the rage and fashion that a handful of bulbs was worth about $44,000.

Credit: Karen Oudeman


Can tulips be planted in the

By Cathy B on March 29

Can tulips be planted in the spring? If so, will they bloom that same year?

I live in Garden Grve Ca and

By Dana Anticouni on March 18

I live in Garden Grve Ca and I bought tulips in Iowa. They told us to plant them any time after late Dec. when it is 60 degrees or cooler. It has not been cool enough to plant and they are in my refrigerator. Is it too late to plant now? If so how do I store them??


Couldn't find a question

By Adela Olivero on March 14

Couldn't find a question related to mine, so I have to ask for your valuable advice.
I live in Italy, CENTRAL APPENINE. Planted more than a 100 tulip bulbs from Holland in 2013. Everything is going fine except that they changed color last year.
In this Spring's growth I can see that the bulbs have multiplied and I don't know whether to leave them like that or if it is perentory to divide them.
Thank you very much!

Hello, I live in California

By Zoey Hernandez on March 7

Hello, I live in California (Antelope Valley ) and my mom and I bought some tulips from Wal-Mart, they had already bloomed, I planted them in the front yard, it's only been a day and some of them are becoming limp and their petals are drying out. Could it be too much watering or the hot sun? What should I do?

Hi, Zoey, It's normal for

By Almanac Staff on March 10

Hi, Zoey, It's normal for plants to wilt a bit, or rest, when transplanted; being uprooted and moved, they have gone through a shock of sorts and have to become adjusted to their new environment. Given that they were probably "forced" for bloom for sale (that's common, too), the sun and water and new surroundings were all too much.
If you expected to buy blooms and move them from a pot into the ground and have them stand up as they did in the pot—that's just not going to happen for almost any plant.
Ideally, you should enjoy the bulbs in the pot, allow them to die back, and then plant the blubs in the fall. If you have a cold winter (tulips need a cold period), they stand a pretty good chance of blooming in the ground the following spring.
Right now, there is nothing you can do. Just leave the bulbs in the ground. Maybe you can buy another pot and try again...?

Hello I planted tulips in a

By Nomin

I planted tulips in a pot and put it in my celler for 9 weeks, and now they are starting to grow, some of them are little some of them are tall. What should i do now? i brought them to my apartment. Is that the correct time? and also i do not know how should i water them.
Please advice me.
Thank you

Hi Nomin. If the tulips have

By Almanac Staff

Hi Nomin.
If the tulips have started to grow it is a good time to bring them into a cool room with windows. Hopefully you'll have some blooms before long.

I was given 3 pots of tupips

By Brenda Veirs

I was given 3 pots of tupips in full bloom in January. Do I keep them watered (inside) to keep them in bloom? After they loose their bloom do I take the bulbs out of the pots and place in cool basement until I can plant in the Fall? I live in the state of Kentucky.

Hi Brenda, Yes, keep the pots

By Almanac Staff

Hi Brenda,
Yes, keep the pots indoors and water if soil is dry. After they are done blooming let the leaves turn yellow before taking the bulbs out of the pots and storing in a cool dark place until fall.

I live in Northern Ohio and

By Jim Albrecht

I live in Northern Ohio and have planted 600 tulip bulbs this last week. If I were to dig them up after the proper fading and yellowing of the leaves next spring how should I store them? I don't have a basement. My garage is not attached and 90 degrees plus may happen 5 times each summer. Is storage inside my 75 degree air conditioned house adequate? Thanks in advance.

So, I'm from Brazil and it's

By gabriella chaves

So, I'm from Brazil and it's summer now. I traveled to the Netherlands in late September and bought some bulbs. Since I didn't know what to do, I left the bulbs on a pot since middle October (spring), when the roots started growing (4"). Then I planted them 15cm. (all in the fridge). Now I can see them out of the ground (3") but I don't know what to do, if they will die if I leave them outside the fridge (there's no way to keep them there anymore) because it's summer now (not like Germanys summer). Also, I found a white fungus on one of them. What should I do?? Do they will die?? Help me pleeaaase!!!

Hi Jim, Why don't you just

By Almanac Staff

Hi Jim,
Why don't you just leave the bulbs in the ground after they bloom? If you do dig up the bulbs they should be stored somewhere cool and airy. It is important air can circulate around the bulb until planting next autumn. 75 degrees is a little bit too warm for storage.

I was concerned about

By Jim Albrecht

I was concerned about watering some top planted flowers. I'll go with Ivy on top and skip the digging since cool and dry isn't available. Thanks!

I don't know if this question


I don't know if this question has already been asked/answered in the comments or not, but can you freeze tulip bulbs instead of refrigerating? or will that kill them?

It's recommended to store

By Almanac Staff

It's recommended to store tulip bulbs in the refrigerator and not in the freezer.

My friend in Holland sent me

By Sandy in San Diego

My friend in Holland sent me a bag of tulips. I have never planted them before. I live in San Diego. Should I refrigerate the bulbs until Thanksgiving?

Hi! I live in New Delhi-

By Kamal

I live in New Delhi- India, with summer temperature up to 47*c (117F) and Lowest winter up to 4*C (40F). Can I grow tulip in container and how the bulbs could be stored during summer?
Is it required to chill the bulbs before planting?

Hey..Im based in Mumbai. Mild

By Akshay

Hey..Im based in Mumbai. Mild winters, hot summers, lotsa rain...Probably the worst weather for tulips. I planned to plant tulips in Aug last year. Got some purple Triumph and Black Parrot bulbs frm Amsterdam..and refrigerated them till Dec. Then planted them in Christmas in a quick draining bed. Rgt now have the black parrots blooming. So to answer ur question, yes it shld be def possible to plant them in Delhi's dryer and cooler weather.

Will tulips bloom in Delhi

By anita abbi

Will tulips bloom in Delhi

Based on the information

By Kamal

Based on the information gathered by me, I am sure it will bloom in Delhi if planted in peak winter.

I am trying to find bulbs in Delhi but not found yet even online.

Hi you can find the bulb at


Hi you can find the bulb at Garden blossom located in CSC market kaka nagar opp. golf course near Khan market metro station & Gaeden glory located in Safdurjung enclave.

I live in New Jersey, about

By rhonapap

I live in New Jersey, about an hour outside New York.
Last year I bought a bunch of tulip bulbs and got all of three blooms... they were a sight for sore eyes.

When the leaves withered in June, I replanted them in a pot and stored in my garage.
Now it will be October, there is no sign of life above the soil, so I don't know their condition.
What should I do now?

We are in Australia and put

By Marion Australia

We are in Australia and put them in the fridge in paper bags until about 6 weeks before we want them to flower (we take them out of the fridge 6 weeks before the first week of Spring and then they flower every time). Putting them in the fridge mimics their native cold winter environment. If you store them in the fridge, do not put any onions in the fridge with them because they will stop the bulbs from flowering.

You can leave them in the pot

By Almanac Staff

You can leave them in the pot and keep them in a cold shed or garage. The bulbs need the freezing temps during the winter months to produce flowers in the spring. Or, you can plant the bulbs in your garden. Discard any bulbs that are mushy or soft.

How wide does a pack of 20


How wide does a pack of 20 bulbs of tulip a grow?

It really depends if you're

By Almanac Staff

It really depends if you're planting the bulbs in a straight row or a grove or how you wish to plant. Plant tulip bulbs about 3 to 6 inches apart.

Purchased 60 tulip bulbs from

By Jodi Jae

Purchased 60 tulip bulbs from lowes today. Live in northern Indiana. I know it's a bit early to plant them now so how do I store them until late September?

Put them in a cardboard box

By Almanac Staff

Put them in a cardboard box or paper bag and store in a cool dry location until it's time to plant them.

how to store tulips bought in

By john pavlik

how to store tulips bought in august?

I live in Gold Canyon,

By Jack Speckels

I live in Gold Canyon, Arizona a suburb of Phoenix. Is it too hot in central Arizona to plant tulip bulbs?

Yes, bulbs are usually

By Almanac Staff

Yes, bulbs are usually planted in late fall in the Phoenix area. Prepare the soil in October and plant tulip bulbs middle of November.  Remember: in your area, you need to chill the bulbs in the refrigerator for six to eight weeks ahead of time; store in a paper sack.

I live in Houston, Texas, and

By DebraNolte

I live in Houston, Texas, and have recently acquired 100 tulip bulbs from Amsterdam. It is August here and still very hot. What do I need to do with my tulips until planting time? when is planting time? From what I am reading, I can place them in the refrigerator to chill them until December and then plant. Is this your advice?

Keep them in a brown paper

By Almanac Staff

Keep them in a brown paper bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Don't store them with any fruit because fruit can release gas that will harm the bulbs. Plant the bulbs after Thanksgiving but before Christmas.

For those of us in the South,

By Aliza L

For those of us in the South, or in an RV, look for a bulb company that will pre-chill your bulbs for you for a fee. it is my understanding that if you put them in a refrigerator with ripening fruit, the gases given off by the fruit damage/kill the bulbs. has anyone else heard of this? Also, does anyone from the South have a purple tulip variety that does well for them with pre-chilling? my supplier tells me purple does not do well here.

In the South, Darwin Tulips

By Almanac Staff

In the South, Darwin Tulips do well, blooming in late March and early April. There is a deep violet variety, 'The Bishop.' As you said, tulips in the south require pre-chilling (for 45 to 60 days prior to planting). Plant right after you remove from cold storage in December or early January.

I live in zone 7-8 in

By gsmurphy

I live in zone 7-8 in Georgia, If I read and understand your comment above, My tulip bulbs should be refrigerated and planted before Christmas? Is this correct? Thank You in advance.

Purchased tulips in very late

By Carmen Hall

Purchased tulips in very late spring, just found them unplanted, and it is May 30th! If I plant them now will they come back next year?

I went to the tulip festival

By Malloryd

I went to the tulip festival in Holland, I bought purple tulips at the stand it didn't look like they had bloomed yet. I brought them back to England and planted them in a pot with potting soil along with the sand they came in. And they looked like they were budding to bloom and they haven't and know they look like they are dying what am I doing wrong?

You may not be doing anything

By Ellie on March 4

You may not be doing anything wrong. Some flower varieties are finicky. I had an Amaryllis bulb that did the same thing. It took two years to bloom...but when it did, it was beautiful, and came back each year. Nature is smart. If there is something wrong with a blossom, it may not bloom. Just be patient. Check your bulbs, throw away any mushy ones, make sure you've left enough space for them to grow. You could also try poking a few holes in the outside of the pot to promote more circulation. Make sure that when watering, the soil should be damp, not wet.

I moved into my 1st home and

By Julissa

I moved into my 1st home and live in Illinois. So I know nothing about landscaping. Their are two tulip plants in front of the home. They get plenty of sunshine. They bloom into these beautiful flowers but don't last long at all. Like a month. Then the petals fall and the leaves start turning yellow. Are tulips longevity only a month? Do they re-bloom? I did notice a slug in the dirt when I was cleaning out the weeds.

Slugs can be good for

By Ellie on March 4

Slugs can be good for gardens. The mucus they leave behind carries nutrients that help certain plants. If you're worried about it, you could try mixing in just a bit of table salt with the soil. But if you use too much, it could kill your plants.

That's as long as mine last.

By Lynn S.

That's as long as mine last. Then they come up again the next year - if the chipmunks don't find them!

Hello. I live in Ontario

By Lynn S.

Hello. I live in Ontario Canada. Each year I plant tulips, as the chipmunks get the bulbs after a year. I learned to live with that, but this year I have a new and very aggravating problem. The ones I planted all came up, but something is eating the actual flowers! Each day it seems there are less. The flower stock looks like it has been hit with a weed wacker. Any idea what would do this and how to stop it?

I've seen this before. If

By Ellie on March 4

I've seen this before. If there is wildlife around your area, they may be taking a liking to the flowers. Deer especially love bright flowers. I've found that spritzing the petals and stalks with cinnamon water helps. They don't like the taste, and will stay away. It isn't harmful to the plants, scabs can promote pollination. Try a mixture of 4 tablespoons cinnamon, and two or three cups water. Or, you can sprinkle dry cinnamon directly on the blossoms. The water helps it stick, though.

Thanks so much. That is

By Lynn S.

Thanks so much. That is possible. We live in a rural area with lots of woods around. We seldom see deer, but every once in a while we spot one while driving at night so I know they are around. Must be coming out and munching at night. They seem to far prefer the red ones to the pink. Next year I will plant only pink and give your egg spray a try.

I would guess your tulips are

By Mary Lyn

I would guess your tulips are being eaten by deer during the night. I live in northern Wisconsin, in a rural area, and deer just LOVE tulips! It can help to spray them with an egg & water solution (3 eggs, beaten to 1 gallon water) However it must be reapplied after a rain, and if it rains during the night, bye-bye tulips for this year. They'll come back next year,so do deer!

I had some large early

By Debbie W

I had some large early blooming tulips that only had a leaf show up this year. Could they be planted too deep? Others bloomed.
Thank you!

I just wanted to say Thank

By Kelly LaFuze

I just wanted to say Thank You for all your posts. I recently adopted a flower bed at a park and the person last year had tulips in the bed. I went to pull the weeds this weekend and had no clue what to do with all the tulip leaves that had no flower on them. So I left them but now I know what to do. This is a great web site.

I may have missed the

By Mainah

I may have missed the question, so I'm sorry for the repetition if so...
I live in southern Maine and I LOVE tulips, but would hate to plant them every year... Do you think could I treat them as a normal perennial and not dig them up?

Yes. You have the absolutely

By Barry Wood

Yes. You have the absolutely most perfect climate for tulips, so the only reason why they would not come back year after year would be pests: chipmunks, squirrels, or voles/mice. I dust mine with scented foot powder like you get at the grocery store before planting; sometimes also cayenne pepper. Be on the lookout for evidence of tunnels by which the chipmunks / moles/ voles might try to access the bulbs, which they perceive of as candy.

Some people plant vinca minor, pachysandra or other tough ground covers atop the bed after planting tulip bulbs. I don't have any vinca but I have noticed that once the pachysandra grows in over the tulips bulbs, the bulbs are pretty safe.

Can I replant tulip bulbs

By Judy Edtl

Can I replant tulip bulbs that have little orange spots on them? Of all the ones I planted, 3/4th of them have these spots. They were new when I planted last fall and bloomed beautifully. Would love some advise before adding bulb dust and storing them.
Portland, Oregon

Thanks for the tip we will

By Alexandra fernandez on March 15

Thanks for the tip we will try and see!

Thank you so much!

By Mainah

Thank you so much!

i live in virginia. Can i

By evangelia

i live in virginia. Can i plant tulips bulbs now?

The short answer is that your

By Barry Wood

The short answer is that your choice is to plant the bulbs now or to throw them into the compost heap later, because they are not likely to last until planting time (October-November) for bulbs that will be dug up in June or July of this year.

Where did you get these bulbs? Are they ones that the grower harvested last summer? If so, the well-known saying "better late than even later" applies.

I received some tulip and

By Kayla Knobbe

I received some tulip and daffodil bulbs for xmas this year so was not able to plant them before the first frost since I live in Iowa. I kept them in our cool dark basement over the winter and was wondering if I could plant them now or wait til fall?

Plant them NOW! These bulbs

By Barry Wood

Plant them NOW! These bulbs have like an internal clock that tells them when it's time to grow. They have been out of dirt for too long to be left that way any longer. Probably they have already tried to grow roots and generate foliage, using up the little bit of moisture that was stored in the bulb. If they have any chance at survival, it would be to get in the ground and start taking up water and nutrients to flourish again.

Depending on how cold your basement gets, there's a chance that they got enough of a chill that they will produce some bloom. But if not, it's still better to plant them and let the foliage come up so that there can be something in the bulbs for next year.

If you wait until fall to plant them, I doubt that they will even be alive. Possibly the daffodils, which are relatively tough, but certainly not the tulips. And I would be astounded if even the daffodils didn't send out roots, looking for that chance for life, well before the fall.

my tulips do not flower. They

By george daddio

my tulips do not flower. They come up everyone year and the leaves are nice and green but no flowers. Can you tell me why? I live in Conn.

(A) Are you sure that they

By Barry Wood

(A) Are you sure that they are tulips? Some people confuse hostas with tulips, since the greenery appears at the same time and can look somewhat similar. If the foliage dies back by about the end of May, they could be tulips. If it stays green through the summer, they definitely are NOT tulips.

(B) The lack of flowering is baffling. Without question you have a could enough winter in Connecticut, so the "chill" period is not an issue. How much sun do they get? Tulips grown in dense shade seldom set many blooms. Is the area where they grow occupied by dense tree roots? Tulips have a hard time competing with the roots of a mature maple or beech tree.

C) If you have very poor soil and the tulips have never been fertilized, that could limit bloom. It doesn't do much good to fertilize at the surface. This year once the foliage dies back, you might try digging them up, storing them in a cool garage or basement over the summer, and adding fertilizer to the holes in the fall before replanting them.

Specific Tulip Problem... I


Specific Tulip Problem... I tried to read all of the comments but there were so many, and of what I did read I didn't see any that related to my problem. So I hope that by asking specifically, someone may be able to help:

I bought a pot of tulips (the majority of which had already bloomed) at a Rite aid/CVS type store with the intention to plant them in larger pots on my balcony. I planted them in organic miracle grow brand soil that I added "Jobes Organics Granular Fertilizer" to, which has 2.0% nitrogen (0.8% water soluble, 1.2% insoluble), and 7.0% Phosphate.

I planted them at the same depth as they were in the pots, then watered the soil. I haven't watered them since. I live in Brooklyn, NY. The spot they are in receives ample sunlight (South SW facing balcony getting sun from about noon to about 6pm daily).

I planted 3 individuals in the same pot as a Canna lily I got last year (all about 6 inches away from each other), and the other 3 in a pot with 3 hyacinths (also about 6 inches away from each other).

It has been about 3-4 weeks since planting and over time some parts of the stems and leaves of the tulips have begun turning red/purple at the bases and tips, the leaves are shriveling/curling, and in the plants that weren't yet flowering, no sign of blooming is visible.

I am wondering if I either have the wrong kind of soil (texture & drainage), an imbalance of pH (but as yet I don't have a test kit to measure it), they are getting too much sun, too much wind, or some other problem I don't know how to identify. It has rained a around 3 or 4 times since I planted them but the pots are under something of an awning, so the rainwater doesn't pour on them unless the wind sets the rain at an angle. And the hyacinths are doing fine in their pot (flowering already passed but leaves are still green and absorbing nutrients for next year).

I am wondering if I should try to remove part of the soil and replace with something more sandy. Or perhaps these particular tulips don't require such full sun so are stressed from that. The soil is somewhat damp to the touch as of right now, so maybe the drainage isn't adequate. But honestly I haven't tried to garden in years and could really use some specific guidance related to my particular situation. If you can help, or point me in a direction of help, I'd really appreciate it! (I can also send a picture of what they look like if that helps anyone understand the problem). In any case, thank you!

They are finished for the

By Keybase

They are finished for the year. Leave them and they may come up next year.

i think your right

By your name

i think your right

I live in southeast Texas

By carolyn

I live in southeast Texas will tulips grow down here?

So does my #3 son (south of

By Barry Wood

So does my #3 son (south of Houston). Sadly, it's not a good location for tulips. You would have to refrigerate the bulbs to simulate a "winter," in order to prompt blooming, and the you would need to lift them during the summer to avoid rot.

It's a tradeoff. I love hibiscus mandevilla and have six of each of them that I bring inside and baby during the winter. In contrast, my son leaves his out all year long. If they get a little frosted, as they did this past winter, it represents some involuntary pruning, and they come back. You have it easy with hibiscus, palms, orchids, citrus and other semi-tropical plants, but if you want to put in the effort you can have tulips like we in the "Nawth" can have semi-tropicals if we work at it.

I live in southeast Texas

By carolyn

I live in southeast Texas will tulips grow down here?

I meant hisbiscus "and"

By Barry Wood

I meant hisbiscus "and" mandevilla.

See also, for best results, my comments in response to other posters about giving the tulip bulbs a simulated "fall" to promote root growth before the big chill of the refrigerator hits them.

This basically involves starting them in pots or trays and putting those in the fridge, complete with dirt. If you don't have that much refrigerator room, maybe there's a work-around like washing the dirt off the roots prior to refrigeration. I haven't tried that so I can't guarantee results. However, around New Years I got a bunch of hyacinth bulbs at the end of season closeout special. I set them in a big plastic storage tub in the cool garage on top of about 2 inches of soil/compost. Didn't put anything on top of them. Then I got busy with other things. When I went to check on them about five weeks later, they had grown thick roots about five inches long - so much so that the root growth had lifted them way above the soil base!

I imagine that if I had laid them in the refrigerator with the roots wrapped in wet paper towels, they would have been fine. The original plan was to plant them in the ground once rooting was under way. Unfortunately, be February my dirt was frozen solid about 8 inches deep. So instead, I put them in soil in ten or twelve inch pots and set the pots in the cold frame. Some were transferred to normal garden beds when the thaw finally occurred, in late March, while others are still in the pots. Enjoying beautiful, fragrant hyacinth blooms from both of those right now!

Basically I followed the same drill with a couple of hundred closeout tulips, except that the cursed chipmunks invaded my cold frame and stole about a third of the tulips for munchies. I didn't mark the pots to indicate which ones had foot powder and which ones didn't, so I'm not 100% sure whether that was the determinative factor, but I plan on bringing more firepower to the fight next winter. If nature would cooperate and freeze the top six inches of the ground immediately AFTER I plant the tulips (as it did in February 2013), that would help.

Live in Las Vegas, Nv....have

By Jeanne hess

Live in Las Vegas, Nv....have tulips in pot, blooms blew off in high winds ; should I deadhead now, wait for leaves to yellow...and then what? Do I leave in pot during hot summer months and should the bulbs be refrigerated before planting in Fall?

Yes, deadhead now, put the

By Barry Wood

Yes, deadhead now, put the pots where they can get morning sun and decent water, and let the leaves turn yellow. Then inspect to see what you have. If the bulbs are just babies it will take another year to get any bloom. If they are an inch and a half or more in diameter, you should have some 2015 bloom IF they get at least six weeks of chill (temp below 50 degrees and preferably below 45). But longer-term survivability is compromised unless they have a period to grow roots prior to that chill period. In the wild and in cooler climates, this is sparked by the return of rain in the fall and cooler temperatures. I don't know whether you could manage to give them that root-development stimulus or not. A refrigerator is too cold. Typical Las Vegas weather in January would be good, provided they get water, but then you would have somewhat limited time to impose the "chill" (here's where the stint in the refrigerator would come in).

An easier solution might be simply to give the bulbs to friends in Oregon, Idaho or Utah, and buy new potted ones for next spring in LV.

Hello, I recently bought some

By Seb

I recently bought some tulip bulbs from Keukenhof gardens in Netherlands and plan to plant them once I get back to New York state (around May). Could I get directions as to when and how to plant and preserve them for the next coming years?

These are bulbs that

By Barry Wood

These are bulbs that Keukenhof would have dug up in the summer of 2013??? If so, I would be surprised if they hadn't already tried to sprout.

I live in Santa Fe New

By Kat516

I live in Santa Fe New Mexico. I just recently moved into a new house and I love tulips and would like to plant some. Should I wait until closer to Fall to buy bulbs, or should I buy some now and store them. I have never had tulips before so I am new to them and have no idea how to care or handle them. Any advice or information I get I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

I doubt that it's even

By Barry Wood

I doubt that it's even possible to buy tulip bulbs now, unless someone is bringing them in from Chile or New Zealand where the summer is just past. Definitely wait until August or September to acquire 2014-crop bulbs and plant them as soon as is convenient.

Santa Fe is a great location for growing tulips as the climate is similar to their native habitat. Just follow the general recommendations that the Almanac staff has posted on this site and you should be in good shape.

Probably the most important single thing you should do when planting is to put some fertilizer in the soil beneath the bulbs that has adequate phosphate and not too much nitrogen -- unless your soil is already naturally high in phosphate. The reason for caution is that if the phosphate concentration is too high, it binds with the zinc and manganese in the soil, depriving the plant of these micro-nutrients.

I mention the need for phosphate fertilizer in this context because phosphate doesn't migrate down through the soil (unlike nitrogen). So this is your one and only chance to place that fertilizer in the tulips' root zone -- unless you dig them up next summer. The reasons for digging tulips up after the foliage has withered do not apply to the cool, dry climate of Santa Fe.

There's also the matter of rodent pests, but I don't have time to go into detail on that here. You could read my other posts on that subject.... I may post an update some time. I learned a new trick the other day from "Joyce," a local gardener who has been quite successful at protecting her tulips from the ravages of the local squirrel and chipmunk populations.

I live in Chicago and our

By Jane Kobos

I live in Chicago and our tulips are planted on the East side where they get morning sun. We always had most of them come up year after year. But this year I noticed only a fraction of the tulips came through; some only have wide leaves, but no buds. We had a a very cold winter with a lot of snow and thought that tulips love that kind of weather. We had them covered with evergreen boughs in case of squirrels. Do you know what could have happened.

If you have a warm spell and

By Keybase

If you have a warm spell and they come up, then a very cold spell they will not bloom that year.

Just a guess, but do you have

By Barry Wood

Just a guess, but do you have chipmunks in your neighborhood? Chipmunks can and do dig tunnels to reach their favorite "candy" -- tulip bulbs. They would not be deterred by a few evergreen boughs.

I live in Memphis, Tn and we

By Keri Gage

I live in Memphis, Tn and we have four distinct seasons with the summer being quite hot and humid. I planted 50 red tulips this past fall and had the prettiest tulips over the past few weeks. The blooms are now gone. I thought that I had to wait for the leaves to die and turn yellow - wait about six weeks and then place the bulbs in cool shed. Do I need to dig them up? They are in a bed that gets part shade that allso has a sprinkling system that we run 15 minutes, 3 times a week. I would like to leave them in the bed. What can I plant next to them that will cover up the tulip yellowing leaves and hide them?

As indicated by the general

By Barry Wood

As indicated by the general advice given by the staff at the top of this page, tulips prefer to spend the summer in a cool, dry, dark place like the soil of the Anatolian mountains where they grow wild. I have some that I leave in the ground and others that I dig up. Some tulips on my north-facing shady hillside just bloomed again -- as they have done every year for 25 years, without ever having been dug up. On the other hand, of the roughly four dozen beautiful yellow tulips that we planted in a low-lying portion of our lot at the same time, zero survived more than a few years. We would have done better to have dug them up for the summer -- and then to have elevated the bed by at least a foot before replanting them.

You could try leaving yours in the ground and hope for zero rainfall -- as that thrice-weekly sprinkling by itself won't rot them unless your soil doesn't drain well. But from what I know of Memphis in the summertime, you are bound to get some drenching rains. So it's probably a question of how well drained the beds where you planted them are.

I live in Michigan. We

By Inessa

I live in Michigan. We planted to lick bulbs inside of some planters at the end of November. we were able to put some of the planters into the ground however there was a number of planters that did not make it into the ground. we did watered all of them right after planting. The ones that did not make it into the ground my husband covered up with a tarp. About a week or two later we took the tarp off. Now the bulbs we planted that are inside the planters that made it into the ground are starting to sprout however the bulbs that are inside the planters aboveground have yet to show any sign of life. my husband did water the ones that show no sign of life a few weeks ago. He also irrated some of the soil to give it some air as well as make it easier for the plant to grow. Do you have any suggestions of what we can do at this point to help the bulbs grow?

Tulip bulbs have enough

By Barry Wood

Tulip bulbs have enough "antifreeze" in them to be able to withstand some rather cold temperatures, but I suspect that the brutality of the Michigan winter just past may have been too much for the ones that were in the above-ground planters and therefore more exposed to the extremely cold air temperatures. If they're dead, they're dead. No amount of watering will bring them back - in fact overwatering is harmful. Dig some of them up and examine them. If there are no roots and no yellowish-green shoots, they are dead. Next time try planting them in late September or early October so that they can develop decent root systems before the bitter cold of winter hits, and bury the planters by mid-November at the latest.

Is it too early to plant

By Martha Schell

Is it too early to plant tulip bulbs in the ground now? I also want to plant some in planters above ground. Should I leave them outside, the the house or garage?

when is a good time to plant

By kathy kuchie

when is a good time to plant easter tulip bulbs. i live in central new jersey and have 2 plants i would love to replant at the cemetary

No time like the present,

By Barry Wood

No time like the present, provided that you water them in well. More specifically, it would be best to do it just ahead of a predicted rainstorm so that the rain will settle the soil in around the roots of the tulips. In addition, the tulips will have a better chance of overcoming the shock of transplantation if you plant them on a cloudy day.

thank you. tmr. it will be.

By kathy kuchie

thank you. tmr. it will be. rain coming tmr. night

I have just bought a pot of 3

By natalie owen

I have just bought a pot of 3 tulips with buds that haven't opened yet. I transplanted them because they were too big for the cup, into a slightly bigger pot. We had some really cool nights all of a sudden. Now the edges of the leaves are turning yellow, like the are dying. Did I screw up??? Also I am in Louisville, ky.

I doubt that the cold weather

By Barry Wood

I doubt that the cold weather caused this problem. Tulips come equipped with the ability to survive early spring frosts. However, transplanting is always something of a shock. When the roots are disturbed, the plant needs extra water for a few days in order to thrive. If you had some strong winds that dried the tulips out right after the transplanting, that could have contributed to the yellowing of the leaves. But if as you say it's just the edges, perhaps they'll still revive with some TLC.

I was given a pot of Easter

By kirsty woods

I was given a pot of Easter tulips that were already flowering. They were given after my dad passed away and would love to plant then in the gardenas a memento of my dad. I live in Ohio. When should I put them in the ground?

Thanks for your help


Get them in the ground now,

By Barry Wood

Get them in the ground now, in a location that receives at least four hours of sunshine a day. In order to minimize the disturbance to the roots, you might simply sink the pot in the ground for the time being. Then when the foliage withers, probably within a month, you can lift the pot and put the bulbs away for storage in a cool, relatively dry, dark spot for the summer. Then plant them in the fall. Alternatively, you could just plant them in dirt and take your chances with pests over the summer. Either way, don't be surprised if the bulbs are rather small. The tulips that were given to you may not have had much of a chance to grow ample roots, photosynthesize and store food for next year. In all likelihood, it will be 2016 before they flower again.

I just bought a house that

By Betty sweat

I just bought a house that has a circular flower bed with tulips there is a lighthouse statue in the middle the house has been vacant for about two years I moved two weeks ago and noticed one side of the bed had bloomed but now they appear to be dead all of them. I don't know anything about flowers or planting I am in nc we have had a lot of rain and ice this winter and it's cold one day warm the next they are in a area that get sun light. What should I do with these to bring them back to life. And I don't know if there are any animals or pests other than ants and so stray cats.


I understand that the flowers

By Barry Wood

I understand that the flowers would be dead, but are you saying that the entire plants are dead -- no green leaves? That is very strange. I could understand voles eating some of the bulbs underground while the flowers were blooming, but I have never heard of them consuming an entire bed all at once like that.

The green part is still green

By Betty sweat

The green part is still green they just don't bloom. If you have an email I have a picture.

I planted my tulips 2 falls

By RubyRed535

I planted my tulips 2 falls ago last summer they bloomed great,but this year I barely have 10 with no buds just shabby looking leaves. what
at am I doing wrong

You haven't told me what part

By Barry Wood

You haven't told me what part of the country (or even what country) you live in, what your climate is like, how much sunlight the spot where you planted the tulips gets, whether you fertilized the tulips, whether you have squirrels, chipmunks or other pests, or whether you cut the foliage down prematurely last year, so it's impossible for me to know what you might be doing wrong, or failing to do right.

The tulips that I buy at a

By Chris Stefanski

The tulips that I buy at a greenhouse can I plant them this spring? I live in Wisconsin northeast corner.

Yes. Plant them now,

By Barry Wood

Yes. Plant them now, preferably in a well-drained, sunny location. I assume that these are blooming tulips (complete with bulbs) in a pot.

I planted tulip bulbs for the

By lesliejean

I planted tulip bulbs for the first time this past fall of 2013.
All of the tulips are up and about to open. I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the weather has been in the 70's with 50's overnight. However, overnight Monday into Tuesday we are expecting the temperatures to drop to 29 degrees overnight. Will this harm the almost open tulips, and if so, how can they be protected?

Lesliejean -- I expect that

By Barry Wood

Lesliejean -- I expect that your tulips will be all right. Their native habitat is in the mountains of Anatolia where late frosts can occur.

If I'm wrong, I'll have the same issue here in northern Virginia, as that same blast of cold air is headed our way. The official forecast is for a low of 31 degrees Wednesday morning.

I adjust that downward a bit for my own microclimate, which is exposed to infiltrations of cold air descending the Potomac Valley. Last Wednesday the official low was 36 degrees F, but it was about five degrees colder than that at my house. I had some light frost in my front (north) yard, enough to blacken some tender basil plants that I had left unprotected. My tulips, however, were unfazed.

A friend brought me back 12

By Mary Kay Mills

A friend brought me back 12 tulip bulbs from the Netherlands. I live in Arizona, land of hot. I have had fall planted bulbs grow, but I don't know what to do with these until fall. I assume they will be no good if they are not planted. Can I plant them now and refrigerate? Other options? I'd really love to get them growing even in the house. Thanks for any suggestions.

The bulb harvest in the

By Barry Wood

The bulb harvest in the Netherlands was last summer, so these are 2013 bulbs. God only knows how they were stored since being dug. However, my guess would be that they may have been refrigerated already, for use in the "forcing" trade. For any tulip vendor to be selling tulip bulbs in March or April that have NOT been chilled should be an official crime.

In Holland an unheated barn or warehouse will automatically give tulips the chill they need. If you wait until fall to plant them they will likely be too old and dessicated to be of much use. Therefore, my recommendation would be to plant them in a large pot or planter box that you can bring indoors (albeit in a sunny window) when your outside weather starts cooking.

The worst that can happen is that if the bulbs have not been chilled, they will send up foliage but will not bloom. You should still at least end up with bulbs that can be treated the right way next winter and bloom for you in 2015, or perhaps Christmas of this year depending on when you chill them.

Hello there~ My son & I

By Astoria, Oregon

Hello there~
My son & I planted Tulips, Daffodils and Hyacinth bulbs last November. We followed directions according to packaging and covered the soil w/ bark mulch. These bulbs were planted in a large planter. This spring, they all bloomed beautifully. Each plant type taking a turn. We live in Astoria, Oregon and the winters here are just weird. Snow is a maybe, which we got lucky & got two brief rounds of it this past winter.
Ok, so questions... I have read the multiple responses to the questions concerning these plant types and I've learned to let the leaves wither on their own-- thus the bulbs are preparing food storage etc. I want to keep the planter "as is" and just put it back into the same location November-ish.
We rarely get really hot/dry summers here. But the sun does come out every-so-often, sometimes a couple weeks at a time.
**Anyway, should I leave the planter exactly where it is or put it into my gardening shed for the summer months? The planter is currently in a shaded, but afternoon sun location.) **Do I take the mulch off for those summer months, or does it even matter? I get the idea that I don't water during the summer, so... water when I put the planter back out, right?
I'm hoping you'll say that I'm good to go w/ this plan...
Thank you for responding!

Astoria is a good location

By Barry Wood

Astoria is a good location for growing tulips. Your summers are relatively cool, which helps, and the winters get cold enough to provided the needed "chill" period.

I imagine that you will be all right leaving the bulbs in the planter over the summer, assuming that you are not plagued with squirrels or chipmunks that might want to make a meal of them. The tulips do not need to be watered at all during their dormant (summer) period, and so the relatively dry milieu of your shed would be ideal for them. Don't bother removing the bark.

In September or October, bring the planter out of the shed and let it get rained on. In Astoria, there should be no need to use a hose on them; natural rainfall will be more than adequate.

Thank you for responding!

By Astoria, Oregon

Thank you for responding! I'm impressed that you did and so quickly :)

Yes, you are correct about the weather and I will indeed bring the container out for a drink come September/October with the abundance of rain we get here.
I don't have problems w/ squirrels nor deer. I'm mostly on clear-ish farm land w/ none to very little trees close by the house.

Two more questions..., if you can take the time:

**At "drink time" do I add bonemeal to the soil for a boost or would regular fertilizer (which I typically add steer manure to all my gardening planters i.e. veggies, etc. I mix equal halves of previous soil used with fresh manure. In this case, for that container, I would only add a little to the top soil for the boost)-- is this correct or leave it all alone for the next bloom season?

**Next, after "the drink", should I tuck the planter away until late November/mid-December? Up until that time, we get late summers usually with any cooler/cold winters not coming on until after Christmas into January. (still mowing the yard in most cases in December amongst the heavier rainfall which starts to become present.


I would not discourage the

By Barry Wood

I would not discourage the use of bone meal. Tulips need phosphate more than they do nitrogen, so bone meal is a better fertilizer for them than the manure. However, I use a product called "Triple Super Phosphate" that seems to work at least as well as bone meal and probably better.

As to nitrogen, tulips don't seem to demand it as much as many other plants. I have one area planted in "Orange Crush" tulips (which I highly recommend, by the way) that probably got too much nitrogen-rich compost. The leaves of the tulips in that bed look a little "burnt," compared to those in the adjacent bed that was planted in a soil that was only about 20% compost.

Also, the roots of the tulip don't know how to grow vertically. They only go down. Thus, you would be dependent on any "top" fertilizer you might add on the top to leach its way down into the tulip root zone. So I wouldn't necessarily bother fertilizing the upper layer of soil in the planters, unless I were planting some more surface-rooting plants like begonias, marigolds, ageratum or dianthus in the planters to thrive atop the resting tulip bulbs over the summer.

Thanks again! If you have

By Astoria, Oregon

Thanks again! If you have time, could you answer the 2nd question too ^^^^ ? I think I'm done w/ questions after that... I think... ;)

**Next, after "the drink", should I tuck the planter away until late November/mid-December? Up until that time, we get late summers usually with any cooler/cold winters not coming on until after Christmas into January. (still mowing the yard in most cases in December amongst the heavier rainfall which starts to become present."

Yes, you could try tucking

By Barry Wood

Yes, you could try tucking the tulip planter away for a while. In your climate, I see no downside to that. I'd be more worried about excess moisture from the drenching rains that the Oregon Coast can receive in the fall. Of course, a problem is still not that likely from leaving the planters outside unless the drainage is poor.

Hello, A neighbor buys 300

By JoAnn Pohorsky


A neighbor buys 300 tulip bulbs each year from Holland, plants them in large containers and as soon as the blooms start to fade he digs them up and gives them away. I received from my 92 year old mother a huge garbage bag of these 2 weeks ago, on March 22th, 2014 and don't know what to do with them. I live in the Santa Cruz mountains where we get some summer fog and usually hot weather in the 80's. I have a coolish garage if I need to store them. He told us to dig a deep hole in the ground and put them in a box in the ground. They still have their foliage on the but he cut off the flowers themselves. I have talked with people for 2 weeks and several conflict opinions have come out of that. Please give me some advice on how to have this be a successful endeavor. Thank you in advance.

I would dig a trench in a

By Barry Wood

I would dig a trench in a spot that gets at least four or five hours of sun per day. Then I would lay the bulbs down in the trench with the foliage above ground level, fill the trench back in with dirt, and give them a good watering to settle the dirt around the roots of the tulips. If you are going to have any bloom next year to speak of, they must have a chance to generate energy to store in the bulbs for next spring.

The foliage will wither in due course. Once it does, I would go with your neighbor's advice of burying the bulbs in that box in the ground. If you get down two or three feet into the earth, the soil will be cool enough that the tulips will be happy during their rest period -- even in a California summer. Or your cool garage might serve just as well.

Then in the fall they will feel that it's time to develop roots for the next year. If you can provide a layer of soil in the bottom four or five inches of the box, that will encourage root growth, and the bulbs will be able to take up nutrients from the soil.

When I do something along these lines, I add some phosphate and either wood ashes or potash fertilizer to the mix. I set quite a number of bulbs on a bed of dirt in one of those large plastic storage boxes, and the bulbs generated a huge volume of roots.

My only question is whether it will be cool enough in that box over the winter to prompt the tulips to bloom next spring. Certainly not if it's in your garage. In a deep hole in the earth -- maybe. Reportedly even in Los Angeles, the soil temperature in December five feet deep averages a bit under 50 degrees. Allowing for the facts that you are farther north and at a higher elevation than Los Angeles, and that you benefit from cool breezes from the Pacific, I suspect that the soil temperature in your area may well be below 50 degrees F. for long enough to allow the tulips to bloom when things warm up. Some varieties need a longer cold period than others.

I realize that digging a five foot deep hole is probably impractical unless you are unusually handy with a shovel and your soil is very light. However, a three foot deep hole is probably adequate in your area. Obviously, it's important that the hole be well drained; a hole that fills up with water would be death to the tulips. This is where use of a plastic storage bin would help. If the hole started filling up with water, the bin would keep the excess water out.

The alternative would be to refrigerate the bulbs. Unfortunately, 300 of them would take up way too much space in the average person's refrigerator, even if they are not set in dirt. So you should try the deep burial method and let us know how that works. At a minimum, the bulbs should survive so that you could try a different strategy to get them to bloom in 2016.

My parents have passed away,

By Barb L

My parents have passed away, & I am selling their house in northwest Indiana and hope to close on April 18, 2014. My dad had some tulips from his mom that I want to dig up before closing and plant in my own garden. Hopefully, the ground will be fully thawed when I attempt to dig them up next Saturday (4/12). How should I plant them in my garden (also in northwest Indiana)? Would they do better if I plant them in pots? If so, how big should the pots be? Should I put food in the hole before the bulbs? What type? Should I expect flowers this year? I should plant them bulbs 8-10 in. deep, correct?

Thank you.

Barb -- Sorry about your

By Barry Wood

Barb -- Sorry about your loss. However, it's wonderful that you have these heirloom tulips as a reminder of your dad and grandmother. Here's what I would do:

If the buyers are normal people, they will understand the desire to keep the tulips in your family. If you ask them, they will probably be amendable to your coming back in a couple of months and digging the tulips up then. The incentive for them is that they will be able to enjoy the bloom this spring.

If you wait until the foliage has withered, moving the bulbs will be extremely easy. You will need to move only the bulbs; no worries about the rest of the plant.

In contrast, if you try to move them this next weekend, you have to get the tops and roots out intact as well as the bulbs. This can be done, but it's not easy and even under the best of conditions it's a shock to the plant.

If the move must be done now (as, for example, if the property will be bulldozed following the closing), then I would urge you to plant them in pots right there at your father's property, and water them in immediately to settle the soil around the tulips' roots. The bigger the pots you use, the better. I would not try this with anything less than 9 inch diameter pots, because of the need to accommodate as much of the tulips' root systems as possible. Don't worry about how deep they sit in the pots. As little as 4 inches deep is all right if you won't be keeping them in the pots through the winter. The main objective is to have plenty of room for the roots to reestablish themselves.

Then at your place give them a few days to adjust, by setting the pots in a somewhat shady spot. As the roots get over the shock of the move, you could move them to a sunnier location. They should still bloom for you, provided that they have plenty of water.

Then after the foliage has died back, you can move them to a permanent spot in your garden. A planting depth of 8 inches is good.

I have moved tulips at this time of year from a neighbor's property that was within days of being bulldozed, so I know that they can be moved. It just required some TLC. But it would have been so much easier if I had been able to wait until they had gone dormant.

You asked about fertilizer. When I am potting up tulips or translating them (or just planting the bulbs in the fall), I make a soil mix consisting roughly of the following: a gallon of compost, a gallon of ordinary dirt, half a gallon of wood ashes from the fireplace (to supply potash), two or three cups of granulated limestone, and half a cup of granulated (slow release) phosphate. I live at the edge of a forest dominated by oak trees, so my soil is naturally acid. In your area, you might be able to skip the lime.

Anyway, this mixture goes in the pot or hole to fill in the three or four inches below where the bulbs will be sitting. If you don't have time to fool with mixing compost etc. into the dirt, your tulips will still probably do all right so long as they have that phosphate, especially if you are well south of the Lake Michigan shore areas. (Close to the shore, as you no doubt know, the soil can be very sandy and addition of compost is more important.)

I did what you said to do

By Barb L

I did what you said to do (when you answered my questions last weekend). Should I continue watering them until they quit blooming, or should I just water them for a few days? Can I put them in the ground, or do they have to stay in the pots until fall? I took some crocuses too, and I treated them the same as the tulips. Should I continue to treat them the same as the tulips?

I did what you said to do

By Barb L

I did what you said to do (when you answered my questions last weekend). Should I continue watering them until they quit blooming, or should I just water them for a few days? Can I put them in the ground, or do they have to stay in the pots until fall? I took some crocuses too, and I treated them the same as the tulips. Should I continue to treat them the same as the tulips?

If they had not been moved,

By Barry Wood

If they had not been moved, no extra watering would be necessary. However due to the shock of being relocated, these tulips will need some extra help. I would water them well every second or third day if you don't get rain that often.

You can put them in the ground right now if you like but I don't guarantee that there won't be any damage from a second disturbance of the roots going from pot to ground. Moving them from pot to ground in the middle of their bloom would not be good. The best option would, I think, be to sink the pots in the ground so that the tulips' roots will stay cooler and more moist than if the pots were elevated. Eventually the foliage will wither. That would represent the best time to lift the pots and remove the bulbs. You can put them back in the ground then, or store them over the summer in a paper bag or cardboard box in a cool, dry, dark place like a basement. Under this scenario you would then plant them in the ground in the fall. Lifting the bulbs over the summer reduces the risk that they will rot or be eaten by pests. Nevertheless, most of my tulips stay in the ground over the hot, humid summers of the Washington DC area. I tend to lose a substantial portion of the bulbs only in those parts of the garden that get flooded in times of heavy rain, or that are infested with chipmunk tunnels.

Thank you again.

By Barb L

Thank you again.

Thank you for your detailed

By Barb L

Thank you for your detailed response.

I need help with my tulips. I

By Nicki Bishop

I need help with my tulips. I planted the bulbs 2 years ago and left them. They did fine. Last year I dug them up and divided them, and this year only 7 bloomed out of 120. They all came up, but did not bloom. What am I doing wrong? I live on the coast in SC. Any help or tips you can give will be greatly appreciated.


Given the severity of this

By Barry Wood

Given the severity of this last winter in Carolina, I hesitate to blame inadequate cooling for the lack of bloom. Where you say that you "dug them up" in 2013, when was that? If you tackled that job immediately after they bloomed, the foliage probably didn't have enough of a chance to generate food to be stored in the bulbs for the 2014 blooming season. This year, let them soak up as much sun as possible and don't touch them until the foliage has died down.

There were tulips already

By IreneN

There were tulips already planted at the house I bought. For the last 3-4 years, the tulip leaves come up but there are never any blooms. Do tulips stop blooming after a few years? Is there something I should be doing to keep them blooming each year? I live in VA, just south of Fredericksburg. Please let me know what to do. Thanks.

Irene -- This is exceedingly

By Barry Wood

Irene -- This is exceedingly strange. You didn't mention whether they were in sun or shade, but I have some tulips growing on a shady hillside and yet somehow they always manage a few blooms. Still, quantity of blooms with tulips will always be better in full sun. Yet you have no blooms at all. I could understand that if you were in coastal South Carolina, where it doesn't get cold enough in the winter to prompt tulips to bloom, but you are only about 40 miles south of me, so clearly that's not the problem, and especially not with respect to the winter just past. The only thing that comes to mind is that perhaps your soil is so extremely short of phosphate that the bulbs are starved for the mineral most essential to flower formation. You might try applying a liquid fertilizer that is formulated to be heavy on phosphate and light on nitrogen. I suggest a liquid because you don't have much time for it to get down deep to the tulips' root zone; this year's foliage will probably be dying off here within eight or nine weeks.

I wondered whether they were growing too close together, but then I reflected on some tulips I rescued from a house that was about to be bulldozed. Those tulips were packed in as tightly as you could imagine, yet they still managed to bloom.

If you're ambitious, you might consider digging them up after the foliage has shriveled and examining the bulbs. If at least some of them are good sized, then you should be set for some blooms next year.

Hi I purchased tulips fully

By Marie Alonzo

Hi I purchased tulips fully bloomed in late feb. It's now April 2. The blooms are gone and the bulbs are still in the pot. I didn't plant them when I got them due to moving and snow on the ground. I live in Toledo Ohio and was planning to plant them now to get them to come back up next spring? I really don't know what I'm supposed to do after reading I plant do I wait till fall?? And I'm seeing more tulips at stores not bloomed just started what are you supposed to do with those? I thought plant now to bloom? I don't know really confused...

Correction - I meant to say

By Barry Wood

Correction - I meant to say "photosynthesize." Photosynthesis is, of course, the noun for the process whereby carbon dioxide and water are converted into sugar and other carbohydrates that can be stored in the bulb for the next growing season.

Put them in the ground, NOW,

By Barry Wood

Put them in the ground, NOW, in a spot that gets some sun. Probably easiest to just sink the pots, as that will inflict the less damage on whatever root systems these tulips may have.

Their leaves want to photosynthesis over the next few weeks and make food to store in the bulbs for next year, but they can't do that if they don't get any sun. Anyway, once the foliage has withered, pull up the pots and store them in a relatively cool, dry place until fall. Then plant the bulbs at least six inches deep in a well-drained spot -- this time without involving the pots.

Don't be alarmed if the bulbs

By Barry Wood

Don't be alarmed if the bulbs that you find when you pull the pots out of the ground are small. If so, you may not have any bloom in 2015. That would not be unusual under these circumstances. They may need to go through a whole additional cycle (fall-winter-spring) before blooming. But if they can avoid being eaten, these tulips should put on a good display in 2016.

I live in northern Thailand

By Chris Tutt

I live in northern Thailand and last year my son-in-law brought me back tulip bulbs from a holiday in Holland. I left them in the paper bags that they were bought in and forgot about them till December as we had a really cold winter for a change! When I checked on them they were all sprouting so I planted them in pots. They haven't done much except to grow just a little. Perhaps if I had planted them earlier might have had better results. But what I want to know is can I now remove the bulbs and put them back into paper bags to be planted again later this year? Our summer has arrived and we get hot, humid weather with a lot of rain starting about May/June. Would really appreciate your advice. Many thanks.
Chris Tutt

This is a difficult question.

By Barry Wood

This is a difficult question. I have no idea why they didn't grow better for you. I am confident, though, that if you leave them exposed to the heat and humidity of a Thai summer, they will probably rot. I would either put them in paper bags or at least put the pots in a cool, very dry place until fall.

Hiya! I received some potted

By Allegra C. Jones

Hiya! I received some potted tulips from my co-workers for my Dad's funeral. I desperately want them to bloom year after year. They are fully flowered and starting to drop petals now in late March. I live in Lexington, Kentucky. What should I do now?

Lexington is a great area for

By Barry Wood

Lexington is a great area for growing tulips. You have naturally well-drained calcareous soil, which they like. You have adequate cold in winter, and adequate precipitation.

The main trick is that the root system is on the bulbs you have received may not be all that well developed, if the bulbs were refrigerated before being potted up. So you probably can't just stick them out in full sun and expect everything to work out perfect.

My recommendation (after the "easing" process described below) would be to dig a hole the size of your pot in a well drained spot that gets morning sun, loosen the soil at the bottom, and add some compost and a little slow-release fertilizer that is heavy on phosphate and light on nitrogen. Then either (a) plant the contents of the pot there, or (b) simply sink the pot in that place with the bulbs in it. The latter can work provided that this is a pot with draining holes. If not, go with option (a) only.

Direct planting will allow the bulbs to send roots down into dirt and fertilizer next fall. The latter strategy will protect the bulbs against being eaten by moles or burrowing rodents, but won't make it easy for the bulbs to develop deeper roots. That said, the bulbs are not into making new roots right now. Their focus is on using the foliage to create food to store in the bulbs for creation of roots in the fall, and tops next spring. So give them that morning sun and enough water so that the soil doesn't dry out for the next month or until the leaves start to turn yellowish and shrivel. When that happens, the bulbs are going into rest mode. They are not dead. They just need to be left alone.

Come this fall, the bulbs will send roots down into the good dirt you have prepared for them. If they are still in the pot, their new roots will go down through the holes in the pot.

The reason why I didn't suggest that you place them out in full sun now is that could be too much of a shock for plants that have been inside in limited light thus far. Full sun is great for tulips in principle. However, they must have the root system ready to handle it; otherwise they will go into premature dormancy, if not croak outright.

It's best to ease the plants into the maximum sun you are going to provide. I like to take tulips such as you describe and put them somewhere that has only a couple of hours of direct sunlight the first day, and get them gradually used to sunnier spots.

Other than that, your only challenge may be to keep animal pests from destroying the tulips. I think that I have already written some about deer, chipmunks, squirrels, etc. I can't claim to have perfect answers for any of them. But it appears that of the roughly 120 "Orange Crush" tulips that we planted in late December, having dusted them first with medicated foot powder like you buy at CVS, the rodents ate very few if any. It probably helped this year that the ground froze solid in mid-January and stayed frozen until just recently.

There was a bed of a different kind of tulips nearby that the squirrels were starting to dig up in November. I dumped a load of acorns on top of it, and that ended the attack on the tulips. With an easy source of acorns above ground, the squirrels lost interest in the tulips.

Don't be too chagrined if the tulips don't bloom next year. The forcing process can be tough on tulips, and it may take a year of them not blooming in order to get re-established. But with care and some luck you should at least have nice blooms in 2016.

We have tulips coming up just now that were planted as a memorial to my mother, who passed away seven years ago. They are in her favorite color. I am sure that your Dad would appreciate your interest in perpetuating the tulips that honored him. Very nice of your co-workers to make that gesture.

I can't thank you enough for

By Allegra C. Jones

I can't thank you enough for your expert advice, Mr. Wood. I purchased the fertilizer you recommended (heavy phosphate, light nitrogen) and the tulips are looking and feeling much better. Not to mention that the other plants in the arrangement from my co-workers also like that fertilizer too. I had to smile when you said that you dumped a load of acorns on your tulips to deter the squirrels. :oD I must also say that planting tulips in memory of your mother is a lovely gesture. We shall make our plants thrive!

Barry, Thank you sharing your

By Almanac Staff

Barry, Thank you sharing your tulip experience and expert advice—as well as your generous nature. It's just such a blessing to the Almanac community. We would love to send you The 2014 Old Farmer's Almanac as a small but heartfelt token of appreciation. Just email us at
Thank you, again! We wish you a colorful tulip-filled spring,
Your OFA editors

do i need to water the tulips

By richelle

do i need to water the tulips soon as they come out in the spring?i put them in the utility room in a pot and when i checked on them ,they already came out about 4inches.should i water them already?

YES!!!! And put them where

By Barry Wood

YES!!!! And put them where they can get plenty of light. You should ease them into the sunlight gradually if the utility room is dark; immediate transfer from a dark room to full sun would be too abrupt. Maybe start with a north exposure, then move to east where they will get morning sun only, and then south or out in the open for full sun. Don't worry about a little frost. Those of my tulips that are above ground survived recent plunge in temps here to 25 degrees F without a problem.

I bought tulip bulbs at

By Linda Ware

I bought tulip bulbs at Keukenhoff Gardens (Amsterdam) and planted them last year. Although the green leaves grew tall and looked healthy, there was never a bloom...on any! The same thing seems to be happening this year :-(
Any suggestions...ideas??

Where do you live? Normally

By Barry Wood

Where do you live? Normally the lack of blooms would be the result of inadequate chilling of the bulbs over the winter. Here in northern Virginia, my tulips' foliage (in most cases) is just barely above the ground. Blooms will come in April.

I live in SC, zone 8B. I

By Robert Hedrick

I live in SC, zone 8B. I have approx. 300 good quality Dutch bulbs refrigerated for almost 16 weeks and I will be planting them the first week of April. I am hoping for blooms by the 3rd week of May. Please advise if this will be possible. Thank you...

Why wait until April? Are

By Barry Wood

Why wait until April? Are you trying to schedule the bloom for a garden wedding or something of that nature? Actually they will do better if planted NOW. As far as blooming time is concerned, the third week of May is very late for normal tulip blooms in your area. Here in northern Virginia, even my late varieties of tulips are finished by mid-May. Since you are planting them so late, that may be possible, but I can't really say as I have no experience with forced tulips in a climate as warm as yours.

I'm in S md. My tulips are 2

By al warner

I'm in S md. My tulips are 2 to 4 inches
Above ground. Calling for snow tonite
What should I do thanks al

Light snow is not going to

By Almanac Staff

Light snow is not going to hurt your tulips. They will be fine.

Hello, I have read comment

By Sabine Lyons

Hello, I have read comment after comment but still feel I need some clarity for my situation. We are full time RV'ers. Because I love them, my husband just bought me a pot of planted pink tulips. The container has five plants and they are almost all the way open after three days. They were fully closed when purchased. Due to moving I cannot plant them outside. I am not sure what deadheading means and I have read about putting the bulbs in a bag in the fridge and also on here about leaving them in a pot in a cool place. We are in New Mexico. So once these bloom I know to cut them but not sure how much. Then I leave them alone and let the plants die? Then do I take the bulbs out or leave them in the pot? I have always managed to kill the plants and bulbs and I think I have always overwatered so this time I want to do things right. Thank you.

P.S. I am also not certain

By Sabine Lyons

P.S. I am also not certain from reading the posts what "giving them a fall" actually means.

"Giving them a fall" means

By Barry Wood

"Giving them a fall" means giving the bulbs conditions that mimic autumn in their native habitat. Autumn is when the bulbs grow roots and plump up in anticipation of (a) 6 to 20 weeks of dormancy in the cold of winter, and (b) putting forth tops in the spring. If you skip the rooting phase and go straight to the chilling phase, it is doubtful that your tulips will have an adequate root system to keep the tops going long enough after flowering to store the energy in the bulb needed to produce flowers the following year. If you buy new bulbs in the fall, the flowers for the following year have already been formed inside that bulb, so you can make the flowers appear by chilling them first and potting later. But if you want to have a viable plant the year after that, it's best to pot the bulbs up first, give them some water and some cool ( as in around 40 to 55 degrees) conditions. Only THEN, after four to six weeks for root development, would you give them the deeper chill (as in 33-40 degrees) for another six weeks to trigger the urge to bloom. I realize that this may be too complicated for life in an RV.

After the tulips have bloomed

By Almanac Staff

After the tulips have bloomed cut the flower stalk off but leave the leaves. After the leaves have turned yellow cut them off and place the dried bulbs in a paper bag. Keep the bulbs in a dark cool spot until you are ready to put them in the refrigerator for a chilling period (about 6 weeks). After the chilling period plant the bulbs in a pot and water.

Thank you all for your

By Sabine Lyons

Thank you all for your replies. They have been a big help. Wish me luck.

I just found a bag of 50

By Maggie30701

I just found a bag of 50 tulip bulbs that I had put up for safe keeping during the GA snow this year. Some of them are starting to grow some roots right in the bag. The bag was kept in the garage where it stays cold. Could I still plant them? Also, just read that the tulips do not like wet soil so i need to know if they can go in large pots since my soil stays wetter than it should after rainy days. Please help.

Hi Maggie, Large pots will

By Almanac Staff

Hi Maggie,
Large pots will work great. Get them planted as soon as you can.

Hi, I just bought flower pot

By Oriana

I just bought flower pot tulip, I live in CA
I want to plant them in my garden, but I don't want them to die,
What is the best way to do it?
Thank you

See my answer to Susan on

By Barry Wood

See my answer to Susan on February 18 (scroll down). You didn't say where you live in California, but unless you are in the mountains you should be safe to plant the tulips outside now. Give them plenty of sun. The foliage will die back in three to ten weeks, depending on how good the root system is and how hot it gets. Then dig the bulbs up and see what you have. Probably they will be rather small. If you want them to grow in 2015, you will need to give them a "fall season" to build new roots, and a "winter" in a refrigerator. If this is too much trouble for you, just give them to someone who lives in a cooler climate and let them give the tulips a chance there.

I live in northern Georgia. I

By Vandy

I live in northern Georgia. I had bought Darwin Hybrid Oxford tulips in Nov 2013 and as often heard, I put them in a covered paper bag in my refrigerator and then forgot to plant them. Just to give it a try I still planted them last week (feb 22)in a full sun area of my backyard following all the planting instructions with a layer of store bought top soil and mixed some organic bone meal. What are the chances the my tuilps will come this year or later ?
Also we have a lot of deer and bunnies around. what other plants should a plant near my tulips to keep them off naturally without spraying too many chemicals in my yard?

Being in the refrigerator,

By Barry Wood

Being in the refrigerator, they have had their "winter," so they will probably sprout and bloom for you here in a few weeks. The problem is that you didn't give them a "fall" in which to develop a root system. The result will probably be that the foliage will die off very quickly after they have bloomed. If you dig them up after the die-off, you'll find that the bulbs are very small and incapable of producing 2015 bloom. If you want to just leave them in the ground, let them come up naturally in 2015 and see if they can store enough food then to produce bloom in 2016. If the 2015-2016 is cold like this winter, that might work.

As far as protection from deer and bunnies is concerned, I have no ideas for you other than a shotgun. Fortunately this is a not a problem I have -- though I have a close neighbor whose property backs up to a county park. She plants numerous tulips every year, only to have most of them mowed down by hungry deer.

Coming from the country in

By Tina Nichols

Coming from the country in deer country we would put human hair around out shrubs and trees. The deer pick-up on the scent and stay away. I'm sure your beautician can help you out with a supply.

We have a Deer and Mole

By Nancy in Maine

We have a Deer and Mole problem. We were told to put pepper (any kind) in the hole before inserting a bulb (this was for the Moles.)
Ordered bulbs from Holland (on a trip in May)and received them yesterday (Oct. 12.) We also ordered some Fritillaria Bulbs, which we were instructed to plant in between the Tulip bulbs.
So, here's hoping we will have success next Spring.

I'm relatively new at

By Nicole Spivey

I'm relatively new at planting flowers, so my experience and knowledge is low. Today I was given a little pot with 5 fully bloomed Tulips. They are beautiful but I'm not sure when or how to plant them. I live in a little town near Columbia, SC. The weather right now are highs between 60-70 during the day and lows between 30-45 at night. Any help, suggestions, and tips would be great. I have a small rose bush I was considering planting them around. I just don't want to kill them or injure them in any way. What should I do? Thanks!

I would recommend that when

By Barry Wood

I would recommend that when the blooms fade, you cut the stems off and dig a hole the size of that pot in a location that gets about half day sun. Simply set the tulips in the ground. I wouldn't try to separate them as whatever roots they have are probably intertwined by now. The goal is to give the plants the opportunity to store food in the bulbs so as to permit a comeback of some sort next year. Depending on how they were forced, they may or may not have built enough of a root structure to produce robust "daughter bulbs" that will bloom next spring (2015). However, you can at least hope to have something that will come back next year and store food for blooming in 2016.

When you set them out, make sure that they get plenty of water for the first few days (and maybe even shade them a bit) to minimize the shock of transplanting and of the transition from the minimal indoor lighting to the full blast of Sol's rays.

We received two beautiful

By Pamela Aaron Moore

We received two beautiful potted tulip plants for our anniversary on 2/21/14. We live in East Texas Zmelone 7/8 and have a lovely large garden with lots of trees. However, there are areas which get sun most of the day. We are leaving for two weeks tomorrow and want to know the best way to encourage the tulips to surrive either inside or outside until our return. There doesn't appear to be danger of heavy freezing while we are gone. Please tell us what to do before we leave and how, where and when to transplant them on our return. Thanks for any help

Sorry - It seems that I

By Barry Wood

Sorry - It seems that I didn't see you post in time to comment before you left on your trip. I hope that you have safe travels and that when you return you will find the tulips safe and thriving. The other set of comments that I posted just now would apply to your situation -- i.e., you are probably far enough south that you don't have to worry about the tulips being too cold. The plants can survive a light frost with ease.

You are, however (like the writer from S. Carolina), on the southern fringe of the area where tulips grown outside normally get enough cold to prompt blooming next year. So this fall you might think about digging the bulbs up, putting them in pots so that the bulbs have some dirt to grown in, and then putting the pots in a refrigerator for at least six weeks to simulate a real "winter." If that's too fussy, you can simply hope for Global Cooling to do its work (i.e., for another winter like this one).

Received a love pot of white

By Barbara Steinberg

Received a love pot of white tulips as a romantic gift from my husband (belated Valentine's Day). The blooms have died, and the leaves are withering. How do I preserve the bulbs through the summer and into the Fall before I put them into "refrigerated winter"? I live in Central Florida (Daytona Beach area near the Atlantic Ocean).

Your husband is obviously a

By Barry Wood

Your husband is obviously a very sweet guy whose love for you is not limited to Valentine's Day. I sympathize with your desire to preserve those plants. If you want to give it a go notwithstanding that your climate is very different from the tulip's native habitat, fine. Basically you want to replicate the native habitat, the mountains of Turkey. There, above the ground it gets very hot and dry but in the depth of the dirt the tulip bulbs stay relatively cool. After the foliage is done soaking up all the sunshine you can give it, I would pack the pots away in the coolest spot you have. I stored some of mine in small cardboard & styrofoam boxes in the back of my garage. That area is below grade and the front of the garage is a north exposure, so the garage stays cool. I appreciate that you don't likely have such a spot in Florida, as most houses there lack basements. However, if one digs down in the ground a little ways, you'll find that even in Florida the dirt will be cool to the touch all year. So one option would be to get your husband to dig a hole for you, stash the tulip pots there, and fill the hole back in until next fall or winter. The only complication is that you don't want them to get wet. So instead of a cardboard box try using something that will keep the water out, like a plastic storage bin or a drinks cooler that has otherwise outlived its usefulness. The sort of thick styrofoam box that my neighbor gets his frozen seafood in should work.

Now, if your husband thinks that this is too much work, I could sympathize with him, too. The alternative would be to get new, fat bulbs this fall and putt them through the drill of rooting, cooling and sprouting.

Sorry, I meant "put" instead

By Barry Wood

Sorry, I meant "put" instead of "putt." I'm actually not a golfer so I can't blame it on a daydream of golfing in Florida.

The other reason why I might go with new bulbs in the fall is that the bulbs your husband bought may not have been given any chance to develop a root system before they were subjected to the cooling period to force the blooms. If that's how it was (and this happens to many if not most of the tulips sold in pots around Valentine's Day), it would explain why the foliage is withering so early. I find that the best bulb development occurs when the foliage stays green for more than a couple of weeks after the blooms have died.

I just picked up a potted

By Megan g

I just picked up a potted tulip plant from Meijer and am desperate to keep it alive. I tend to kill everything I try to grow. :( I live in NW Indiana (zone 5a), and am more interested in keeping the tulips potted. Will this be a problem? I planned to move the pot outside when it warms up (it's supposed to get pretty cold again next week), and right now they are in a NW facing window. I can move them if that would help; that's just where the living room is. Any advice is more than welcome!

Tulips have a life cycle that

By Barry Wood

Tulips have a life cycle that is based in the expectation that the only way to survive the hot dry summers of their native mountain habitat is to go dormant until the fall rains come. The ones you bought will only bloom for so long in the pot or out of the pot. Aside from enjoying the flowers while they last, your goal should be to maximize the ability of the leaves to store food for next year's blooms. That means giving the plant as much sun as possible, without exposing it to heat or letting it dry out. A south or southeast window will be best until it can be put outside. Once the leaves die back (which they will do within no more than a couple of months after blooming no matter what you do), put the pot in a cool dark place like a garage or basement until September or October. Then put it outside where it can pick up some rain and develop a new set of roots before the winter's cold comes. After six or more weeks growning roots and six to eight weeks of cold weather (consistently below 50 degrees F), you can bring it inside to force the 2015 bloom.

Would it be more beneficial

By Megan g

Would it be more beneficial to wait until closer to spring next year to bring them in? I don't want the blooming to be all out of whack, but I'm hesitant to leave them in my garage (no basement)because it does get REALLY cold during the winter, especially this past one. I have a spare bedroom that stays relatively closed off and is generally colder tan the rest of the house. Would I be better off just planting them?

I was assuming that maybe you

By Barry Wood

I was assuming that maybe you lived in an apartment and didn't have a place to plant the tulips outside. Given that Indiana is an ideal climate for tulips, I think you can just let nature take care of them....once the calendar catches up with where the tulips are. In other words, plant them outside in late March or early April, in a well-drained location -- i.e., a period when you are not likely to see low temperatures below about 25 degrees until the fall. The tops may well have died back to nothing by then. If so, you might as well keep them in a cool place like a basement until September or October, and plant them outside then.

I received these beautiful

By Paige Maynor

I received these beautiful pink tulips, my favorite flower, with bulbs attached for valentines day. They immediately bloomed the next day and now look like the leaves may be wilting and yellow/browning! How do I save them? Their roots are under water, which my boyfriend told me the card said to keep them this way (naturally he lost the card). The bulbs themselves are not underwater. Just the stringy grassy roots. On day one they had not opened and now on day 5 they look as open as possible-too open. They are in my bedroom (third floor) on the window seat. I open the blinds for them. Average temp up here is 70-76 Please please help me! I'm so upset about this.

The important thing is not to

By Barry Wood

The important thing is not to blame your boyfriend for the fate of the tulips. It's not his fault. He made a very sweet gesture by getting you your favorite flower for Valentine's Day, so that's the memory that should last from this. I have never tried to grow tulips with the roots totally immersed in water. It doesn't sound like a good idea in terms of saving the bulb. The roots must be able to breathe a little bit in order to prosper. If they were in well-drained dirt the foliage would not be turning yellow quite this quickly. You could try to save the bulbs by planting them in potting soil, but the earliest you might see bloom again would be 2016. It would be less frustrating simply to convince your boyfriend to buy you some new fresh new bulbs in the fall and plant them.

We assume you are using a

By Almanac Staff

We assume you are using a tulip vase? You are correct in that the roots are in water but the bulbs should not touch the water. Once the tulips blossom, you are supposed to cut them as you would in the garden and place in a regular flower vase. You usually can't save the bulb.

thank you!

By Suni

thank you!

I was given some tulips

By maxine stewart

I was given some tulips already i full bloom and in pots, do I need to repot them into a bigger pot?

I was given some tulips

By maxine stewart

I was given some tulips already i full bloom and in pots, do I need to repot them into a bigger pot?

I was given some tulips

By maxine stewart

I was given some tulips already i full bloom and in pots, do I need to repot them into a bigger pot?

hi..we are staying in

By sony

hi..we are staying in maine.
we bought thulip pot from sam's club.then we place it on out apartment with same pot.the thulip flowers are blooms,and fall,and leaves becomes yellow..

my question is should i keep bulbs in same pot for next season.. are (or) we have to remove bulbs from pot ?? and place in freezer for some period then plant in same pot with same soil??

In general, Maine is a great

By Barry Wood

In general, Maine is a great climate for tulips, but the ones you bought were forced to bloom two or three months before they would have bloomed normally. Possibly the period that they should have had to develop roots was shortchanged. That could explain why the leaves became yellow so quickly. Depending on how much energy from the sun the leaves were able to pick up before they turned yellow, the bulbs in your pots will not likely be able to produce bloom next year. I would give the bulbs to a friend who lives in a house with some ground. Let him or her plant them in their dirt so that they could go through a normal life cycle in 2014/15 and generate enough food to support blooming in 2016. For 2015 blooming, in your shoes, I would buy some nice fat new bulbs this coming fall at a garden store and plant them in those pots (or bigger pots) in October with a bit of low-nitrogen fertilizer (i.e., high in potash and phosphate). Put them on your balcony or anywhere else outside and simply let the Maine cold season temperatures do their work. Around the latter part of January you could bring them inside to a sunny spot and in few weeks you should have blooms.

Hello. I have recently

By susan l.

Hello. I have recently purchased some tulips from Food Lion. They are very beautiful and in full bloom. I live in S.C and our temps. are from like the 50's in the daytime and 30's at night. (most of the time) Is it ok to plant my tulips outside now or do I need to repot them and wait til later? Thanks for any advice.

A variant on what the staff

By Barry Wood

A variant on what the staff suggested -- once you are done enjoying the bloom indoors, cut the flower stem off and plant the tulips outside. Temperatures in the 30s, 40s and 50s are actually better for them than the warmth of the house, in terms of prolonging the period when the leaves will be able to soak up energy from the sun and store it in the bulbs for next year. In addition, much more UV energy will hit the leaves if they are outside than if they are shielded from the sun by window glass.

My only question is whether you will get enough cold next winter in your part of S. Carolina to trigger the 2015 bloom. Probably yes in Greenville or Spartanburg but probably no in Beaufort. If you're in the southern part of the state you might think about sinking the bulbs in their pots now; pulling them up after they foliage dies down, putting the pots in a cool dry place for the summer, giving water in the fall (to encourage root growth), and providing an artificial chill by putting the potted bulbs in refrigeration for about six weeks before putting them back outside. Maybe too much trouble, I know.

Allow the tulips to die back

By Almanac Staff

Allow the tulips to die back in the container they are in now. Then plant the bulbs outdoors.

Thank you so much for your

By susan l.

Thank you so much for your help :)

I have some VD tulips that I

By 1mlheines

I have some VD tulips that I would love to plant. I have zero experience with tulips. I live in zone 4 Nevada. Should I keep them indoors in a pot until early spring or can I move them inside and outside depending on the weather? I want them to live so I can border my hollyhocks with them.

Tulips bloom in the spring so

By Almanac Staff

Tulips bloom in the spring so they may not appear with hollyhocks.
Tulips need a cold period, so if you are in a year-round warm(er) climate in Nevada, you may have to make accommodations. If you live in a cold-winter area, plant them after they die back in the container they are currently in. Then plant them, or plant them in the fall. If you do not live in a cold-winter area, you can try putting the bulbs into the refrigerator (not freezer) in a ventilated bag for  to 10 weeks. Plant them in late winter/early spring. Or try tricking them into planting at another time, although we can not guarantee success in any other season.

Thank you. We live in high

By 1mlheines

Thank you. We live in high desert, so yes it does get very cold here in the winter. Sometimes below zero. I knew they would not bloom with the hollyhocks but I was going for color bursts throughout the warm season. I also have morning glories that grow in the same area along with wild sunflowers. Thank you for your reply.

Right -- zone 4 is seriously

By Barry Wood

Right -- zone 4 is seriously cold territory; I'm thinking maybe Ely or Elko? That's is actually good for tulips. If you don't have any luck with the forced tulips bought for Valentine's Day, get some bulbs for fall planting and get those in the ground no later than October. They will have a chance to develop a proper root system. The ones you bought here recently may not have had that opportunity, and if so will be at something of a disadvantage in terms of storing food for next year's bloom. But if they survive at all, you may have a shot at some good blooms in 2016 from them.

Thank you Barry. it does get

By 1mlheines

Thank you Barry. it does get very cold here. The biggest struggle we have with planting in the spring is unexpected late freezes and of course the wildlife. There is nothing we can do for the cold except hope for the best. Do you know of a natural remedy for pesty quails? Any sprouts under 4 in. get eaten. It does not matter if they are flowers or veggies. We are allowed to shoot them if they are destroying food crops but I just want to repel them until our plants get big enough so that they will not eat them.

I wish I could help, but have

By Barry Wood

I wish I could help, but have no ideas about quail. We would see them from time to time in eastern Washington, where I grew up, but for whatever reason they didn't bother my garden much there. I could never understand how they were able to escape the neighborhood cats, since they spend so much time on the ground. Here in the East, the main enemies of tulips are deer, squirrels and chipmunks. I don't have much of a deer problem yet as for some reason they are reluctant to cross the street in front of my house. As to the rodents, a member of our local garden club told me to dust the bed with foot powder when planting the tulips. So far that seems to have worked. In your battle with the quail, I don't suppose that it would hurt to try dusting the new tulip shoots with foot powder when they come up. At least you would find out whether quail have the same aversion to it as squirrels and chipmunks do.

Brown thumber here.I live in

By Ms Jaguar in FL/AL

Brown thumber here.I live in northwest FL.I'm wanting to plant my V day tulips in my two mailbox brick planters with other flowers. Any suggestions on what other flowers I could put around them. Also,will I need to dig up the bulbs after they are done blooming and keep them in paper bag till fall, or will these come back next season just leaving in ground? Can I plant other perenials on top of the them over the summer?

Seems to be a lot of interest

By Almanac Staff

Seems to be a lot of interest in saving Valentine tulips, especially in warm climates. Our advice is this, as given to the next reader (above): Tulips bloom in the spring so they may not appear with hollyhocks.
Tulips need a cold period, so if you are in a year-round warm(er) climate, you may have to make accommodations. If you live in a cold-winter area, plant them after they die back in the container they are currently in. Then plant them, or plant them in the fall. If you do not live in a cold-winter area, you can try putting the bulbs into the refrigerator (not freezer) in a ventilated bag for  to 10 weeks. Plant them in late winter/early spring. Or try tricking them into planting at another time, although we can not guarantee success in any other season.
In the north, you can plant some perennials on top of tulips (ideally, perennials that die back, so that the tulips do not grow up through them—think large sedum; in fact, the tulips would probably be stunted just trying).
Being in Florida and, if you are going to try this, you will need to lift (dig up) and chill the bulbs every year, so you do not want to put large perennials over them.
Good luck!

Hi, I live in Ohio and want

By Suni

Hi, I live in Ohio and want to plant tulips in the garden of my new home. Now its being mid February, can I buy tulip bulbs and plant them directly in the ground? or Should just buy potted tulips since fall is gone. Please suggest what I can do to have them bloom in my new garden.

To have blooms in your garden

By Almanac Staff

To have blooms in your garden this spring you need to buy potted tulips that have been forced to bloom now. In the fall plant tulip bulbs for next spring.

I bought some tulip bulbs

By jeannied

I bought some tulip bulbs yesterday at a Lawn & Garden Show. I live in Kansas and we currently have about 10 inches of snow on the ground. I have absolutely no experience with tulips so I am thinking that I have made a huge error in my purchase. I have always loved tulips and I think that's what spurred my spontaneous purchase. What's the best way to get these bulbs planted? We are expecting temps in the 50's next week, but I fear the ground will still be too frozen to plant and if it's not, it's going to be too wet with all of this snow melting. HELP!!!

I am assuming that what you

By Barry Wood

I am assuming that what you bought was just the bulbs, correct? These are not bulbs that already have foliage? If so, another option would be to plant them in pots right away. The ground may be frozen but you can buy potting soil at probably any garden center. Put the pot(s) in a cool spot, like the north exposure of your house, or (if you have room) in the refrigerator. If they get six weeks of cool temperatures (generally below 50), you may actually succeed in getting them to bloom. Last year, I planted dozens of tulips as late as the first week in February. Because the rest of February and early March were relatively cool, almost all of them bloomed. The only ones that failed were in pots without drainage; some of those got waterlogged and rotted, but all of the ones in pots with good drainage (i.e., holes in the bottom of the pots) came through fine.

Plant the bulbs outside when

By Almanac Staff

Plant the bulbs outside when the soil is warm and not wet. Your tulips will probably not bloom this year. Leave them in the ground next fall and winter and they will then bloom next spring.

I have recently bought some

By Anonymous

I have recently bought some tulips at Trader Joes, I live in Chicago. Although it is very cold right now, our house gets allot of sunlight (so it is warm). Everything looks relatively healthy (its bright colored, green leaves, moist soil, not leaning) But what do I do when the flowers die? How short must I cut the stem without killing the plant? I am not an expert at plants, but I am determined to keep my tulips alive! What should I do? Do you have any tips for a beginner?

In addition to what the staff

By Barry Wood

In addition to what the staff said, I would like to emphasize that in order for you to succeed with these tulips in terms of blooming in 2015 and beyond, it's essential that the leaves soak up as much sunlight as possible so as to store energy in the bulbs for next year. Since window glass blocks out much of the ultraviolet light that plants need, you might put the tulips (assuming that they are in pots) outside in a sunny place from Monday to Friday next week. According to the weather forecast, it appears that you will have five days with temperatures mostly in the 30s or low 40s. A light frost won't hurt the tulips, but a hard freeze could. I would bring them back inside for that next weekend's plunge in temperatures.

After the blossoms fade cut

By Almanac Staff

After the blossoms fade cut off the stems as close to the soil as you can. Leave the leaves until they turn brown on their own. You can plant the bulbs outdoors for more blooms next spring.

I am growing some tulips for

By Xu Yunfan

I am growing some tulips for my art project. at first they were fine. now they are yellowing at the edges. need urgent help. i live in singapore where the temperature is around 26 degrees celcius. my tulips are in my bedroom table. the table faces the east facing window. when its morning, the sun shines brightly. please help. this is a picture of my tulip. thanks

Where did you get the bulbs?

By Barry Wood

Where did you get the bulbs? Have they flowered at all? If not, it's probably because they did not have the necessary cool period -- at least six weeks below 50 degrees, and preferably below 40. The yellowing of the foliage is the natural response to the tulip finding itself in a warm weather situation. By the onset of what the tulip "thinks" is summer, it expects that the dry season is coming, so it's programmed to have the foliage die back. There is basically nothing you can do to prevent this other than by turning your thermostat way down, and even then the die-back will happen sooner or later. But this period is critical for the bulbs to be able to store energy from the abundant sunshine that you are (I trust) giving them. Once the dieback is mostly complete, give the bulb (which may by this point have become a new set of bulbs) a rest for about three months. Then (assuming that the bulbs are still in pots) start watering again, keeping the bulbs cool as if they were in the autumn in the mountains of Turkey. After six to eight weeks of that, put the potted bulbs into a refrigerator for a couple of months to give them that jolt of cold that is necessary in order to trigger blooming. Then take them out, let them warm up, shoot up and bloom.

Hello. I'm an utter neophyte

By Ewan

Hello. I'm an utter neophyte in taking care of flowers, but I have some white tulips that a friend gave to me and they're gorgeous, I really want to take care of them. All three of them have already bloomed, sort of, I can't really tell but they've opened a lot though not as much as in some pictures I've seen.

a) The stems have completely bent to the sides, what does this mean?

b) How can I make some home-made compost or fertilizer and how do I apply it?

c) Is it alright if at this point I'm still watering them every other day?

d) Please help, I need it a lot, thank you.

Ewan -- You don't indicate

By Barry Wood

Ewan -- You don't indicate where you live, but I'll assume that it's in some place that has winter. I will also assume that these tulips came complete with their bulbs, in a pot with soil or peat moss, right? I will also assume that you have given them plenty of water, but not so much that they are drowning. It doesn't matter how often you water them so much as that the soil is damp without being soggy. If twice a week is enough to achieve that, fine.

That the stems are sort of falling over, despite adequate water, is an indication that the tulips are in a spot that is too hot. In nature, most tulip varieties bloom in April (at least here in Zone 7). In other words, they bloom when nights are still quite cool. They are not designed to thrive inside of a home where the temperature never gets below 70, especially where the humidity is very low. If you can't give them some cooling off opportunities, then you might just have to write off this season's bloom and focus on getting them to survive and store some energy for next year's blooms. Put them in the sunniest spot you can find. Eventually the leaves will wither as the plant finishes the food-storing process and gets ready for the summer drought. When the foliage has died off, put them in a cool, relatively dry place, like a garage or basement, to wait for fall. You don't want them to get completely dessicated, though. I use paper or styrofoam boxes (like the ones carryout comes in) and stash some very slightly damp peat moss in there to keep them from drying out altogether. The goal is to mimic conditions underground in the mountains of Turkey, the tulip's native habitat. I also dust them with foot powder to keep critters from eating them. Then in October you dig a hole five or six inches deep and plant them.

Bear in mind that tulips that have been "forced" to bloom early by florists for sale in mid-winter probably didn't get a chance to develop much in the way of a root system (which could also be part of the problem with the drooping that you're experiencing). Thus, it's possible that in 2015 you won't have any bloom. But if you treat them right (mainly giving them lots of sun in a well-drained spot), you should have some flowers in the spring of 2016.

I'll address the compost question separately.

Thank you so much. We live in

By Dee wrona

Thank you so much. We live in NC USA. My husband bought me the most beautiful tulips for V day. I am going to use your advice. Any other advice would be appreciated.

Hi, I stay in India. I potted



I stay in India. I potted a few tulip bulbs in early December. Presently the temperature is around 60 degrees F and is expected to stay around 75 degrees F till end of February and then it goes very warm.
A couple of bulbs have just shot to the surface.
I am excited.
I have kept them in shade till now. Shall I move them in Sun now.
Though most of the guys who have contributed are from colder regions, but any advice would be of great help for a beginner like me.


No. Unless the bulbs have

By Barry Wood

No. Unless the bulbs have had at least six weeks of cool temps (under 50 degrees Fahrenheit), they are not going to bloom. If it's 60 degrees now, I doubt that you had any 40 degree weather in December. Put them in a refrigerator for six weeks, then take them out and put the pot where you will want them to bloom; the coolest place you have. After they bloom, let them soak up some sun until the foliage withers away.

Finally the tulips bloomed.


Finally the tulips bloomed. Very rare to have tulips in India.

I'm pleased that you were

By Barry Wood

I'm pleased that you were able to get them to bloom. Are you going to try to get them to come back next year? Forming the new bulbs isn't hard if they get adequate sunshine. The trick will be to give them that cooling off time to simulate a winter.

Barry, do I need to water the


Barry, do I need to water the pot now and then? It will become extremely hot 45-50 Degree Centigrade.

I was talking in terms of

By Barry Wood

I was talking in terms of Fahrenheit degrees.

Now that the bloom has gone


Now that the bloom has gone and temperatures will go around 120 degrees in June/ July, do I need to water my tulip plant (which is now drying) sometimes.

That's difficult to say. The

By Barry Wood

That's difficult to say. The plant needs water before, during and after blooming until such time as the foliage naturally withers. Once the foliage has died off, there is no need to water it until autumn, except you might give it a little drink now and again to keep the bulbs from complete dessication. That's because tulips do not expect to be exposed to temperatures of 120 degrees F, as that never happens in the mountains of Turkey where they grow wild. An alternative strategy would be to remove the bulbs from the pot and keep it indoors over the summer, where presumably your air conditioning would protect them from the extreme heat outdoors.

I say "bulbs" because even if you started with just one bulb last fall, probably new bulbs formed this spring. It would not surprise me to find that they are much smaller than the initial bulb. That's a function of the amount of time the plant had to store energy after flowering, and the amount of sunlight received during that time.

Thanks Barry, I shall do that


Thanks Barry, I shall do that and inform you by November 2014.

My grandaughter bought me a

By Debra Dooilttle

My grandaughter bought me a vase with the "longlife tulips" 3 weeks ago... we live in the midwest.. i have followed the directions as specified... i got one bloom and the rest seems to be dying... what can i do to preserve them or could i possibly save the bulbs and plant them when in season?

When all of the green foliage

By Almanac Staff

When all of the green foliage has gone by, dry out the bulbs and store them in a cool dark place until it is time to plant them in the fall.

My wife bought some beautiful

By xavier

My wife bought some beautiful vases with 6 tulips in
each vase mix of red and white they are sitting on
something that looks like a one inch thick foam with
small holes and bulbs sit on top of this foam.

I have two questions
how much water should be in vase should it barely
reach or submerge bulb?

When the bloom dies can they be saved by cutting or
anything else be done to let them bloom again if yes
can this be done over and over how many times.

vase is 7 in wide should I remove some from each vase
how many is safe to keep blooming in a 7 in vase.

We live in Miami fl we want to keep these as inside
tulips preferably in vases or inside pots how should
we to get longest life and bloom over and over from
same bulbs

Thank you
Xavier & sari

We'd recommend that you allow

By Almanac Staff

We'd recommend that you allow the water to reach halfway to 3/4 up the foam—do not let it touch the bulbs. The foam will absorb the water to provide a moist medium for the bulb roots.

These bulbs were forced to bloom early. They do not need to be removed while they are blooming. When the blooms, flower stalk, and leaves die, it is unlikely that the bulbs will bloom again unless they have a chilling period. Since you do not live in a northern climate, you can try removing the bulbs from the vase, cutting off the dead foliage and flower stalk, and placing the dry bulbs in a paper bag; then place the bag in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for 6 to 8 weeks. After that, place the bulbs back in the vases (in their foam slots) or plant them in soil in a container. Place the container/vase by a sunny window; keep the soil (or foam) moist but not soggy.

I have a similar situation.

By Ana on March 2

I have a similar situation. Tulips in a glass vase with false bottom so that just the roots are in the water. The bloom has fallen off now, and there are baby bulbs forming. I was planning to plant in a large pot ASAP is this ok or should I wait? From reading other comments I think I have to wait until all leaves and stems fall off,, cut off stems, dry, refrigerate 6-8 weeks, then plant. Is this correct? I live in south east Alabama? And what do I do with the roots, cut them off and save just the bulb or keep the roots? When and how do I separate the baby bulbs?

You can plant the bulb in a

By Almanac Staff on March 4

You can plant the bulb in a pot if you like. When the foliage turns yellow/brown remove the leaves and take the bulb out. If the baby bulbs are big enough remove them and put the mother bulb and babies in a paper bag and place in the refrigerator for 6-8 weeks before planting.

Recently I bought two kinds


Recently I bought two kinds of tulip bulbs from Amsterdam. One kind I have to keep in refrigerator for 6 weeks and another is ready for plantation. I live in Bangladesh, here it is winter now. Average temperature is 10-20 degrees. Please let me know when should I plant bulbs and how should I plant this bulbs.

Plant the ones that have been

By Barry Wood

Plant the ones that have been pre-chilled now, in the ground or in pots. I would set the others in pots or trays with some potting soil for at least a month so that they have a chance to develop their root systems. They can be planted close together, more so than if you were planting them directly in the ground. If you were to use a standard pot that is six inches in diameter, you would place the bulb a couple of inches above the bottom of the pot so that there is room for the roots to grow.

After they have had a chance to grow some roots, put the whole thing in the refrigerator, if you have room there, in order to give them the six weeks of "chill" required to trigger blooming.

Once the chill period is passed, either set them out to bloom in their pots, or plant them in the ground. I place them at least four inches deep; the ideal is six inches deep. If you want to add some fertilizer, fine, especially if it is heavy on the potassium and phosphate portions. Maybe the most important thing is that the soil be reasonably well drained. Tulips do not grow in swamps. If I understand Bangladeshi climate correctly, you're heading into the dry season now, so you will probably be fine until the monsoon comes. The tulip foliage will have died back by then. If you want to save them for the next season, dig them up before the monsoon comes so that they don't get too wet when it's raining all the time.

I have bulbs I did not get

By E. Meyer

I have bulbs I did not get planted before we had a heavy snowstorm. I cannot dig into the soil, our temp dropped below 20. We live in NW WI, USA. Can I put the bulbs in long and skinny, deep planters on my deck or sitting on the ground outside and transplant them after spring blooming? I have giant pink tulips and daffodils. Any advice is appreciated. I want to be sure they are cared for properly, it took us many years to find a home and we have 5 acres I am converting to multiple garden spaces. 1/4 acre done for the first year. I really want these bulbs to survive! I have no room in the fridge for them, three children and getting snowed in does not work well for that!

You can plant the bulbs in

By Almanac Staff

You can plant the bulbs in containers. Put the containers in an unheated garage or shed. If you leave the containers outdoors put some mulch on top and around the pots for extra protection. You can carefully transplant the bulbs in the spring once the ground is soft or you can wait until the tulips have bloomed.

I live in Malaysia do you

By Irza

I live in Malaysia do you thinkmthe tulips can grow in my country's condition which is damp and sometimes dry all year round
I really want to grow some tulips to complement my roses

No. Tulips require a period

By Barry Wood

No. Tulips require a period of chilling in order to flower. The only way you could manage that in Malaysia would be to place them a refrigerator for at least six weeks. Best method would be to set them in trays of dirt during that time so that they have a chance to develop roots before you take them out and expose them to warmer temperatures ("spring"). But I understand that you might not want to have any dirt in your refrigerator.

I live in zone 7b. Can I

By Jerry Brookshire

I live in zone 7b. Can I plant tulip bulbs in late November?

Late November is usually a

By Almanac Staff

Late November is usually a good time for planting tulips in zone 7b.  Start pre-cooling the bulbs late September/early October.

I'm going to plant my bulbs

By Shoreview

I'm going to plant my bulbs soon and I was just wondering what other bulbs would do well near the tulips?

Other spring bulbs like

By Almanac Staff

Other spring bulbs like crocuses and daffodils will grow nicely near your tulips.

I just bought some tulups and

By CMoore64

I just bought some tulups and I is the 5 of november we have had frost at night for a week or so and the days our 40-50's is it to late to plant the ground can still be tilled up. im in zone 5 bourder line 4 5,800 feet. Thank you

Tulips and spring-flowering

By CassandraP

Tulips and spring-flowering bulbs must be planted before the first hard frost (below 28° Fahrenheit for a few hours).

Actually that's not true. I

By Barry Wood

Actually that's not true. I planted over 200 tulips last winter in January, long after the first hard frost, but in a warmish spell when the ground could still be worked. It then got colder in February. I had absolutely spectacular results come April. And because I bought the bulbs for a song on a close-out sale, the cost was negligible.

I just ordered a100 bulbs

By Laura Beth

I just ordered a100 bulbs from Brecks. First time bulb buying. I have a family of groundhogs, rabbits, squirrels, and slugs. Deer are fenced out. Can I just drill drainage holes in some large plastic bins and bury the bins with the planted bulbs in November. I am in zone 6b.

Thank you!!!!

This bin method will protect

By Almanac Staff

This bin method will protect your bulbs from underground and side attacks but will leave them open to being dug up from above. Place chicken wire, or other protective barrier over the bin. Some gardeners add a layer of gravel under and above the bulbs as protection.

I recently moved into a home

By myatroopa

I recently moved into a home with a large garden. There are tulip plants in one area. The blooms are gone, but their leaves remain. I've never worked with tulips before, so my question is: What do I do with the leaves. There are still green, but I don't know if I am supposed to remove them or let them be.

Thanks for your help.

Let the green foliage die

By Almanac Staff

Let the green foliage die back on its own. This allows the plant to put energy into growing a strong bulb for next spring.

I just planted 500 tulips (I

By Corty

I just planted 500 tulips (I live in south jersey by the shore) and I was wondering if I actually have to dig them up every year dry and replant every fall or if they will just keep coming back. They are in a sunny spot that has pretty good soil for living so close to the ocean. Is there any thing special I can do to make sure they are happy?

I endorse everything the

By Barry Wood

I endorse everything the staff said, but would just add that it IS possible to have tulips come back year after year for a long time. I have three varieties that have bloomed every year for 25 years. They are on a slope, so the drainage is good, and the other secret to their longevity is that they are overplanted with pachysandra. The dense roots and stems of the pachysandra prevent the squirrels from digging them up and feasting on them. I have also heard that vinca minor works the same way, but haven't tried that. These are different kinds of tulips (a very early red, Red Emperor and a white Darwin hybrid) so it's not the variety of tulip that makes the difference. Another weapon in the fight against squirrels and other tulip destroyers is foot powder, the scented kind you buy at CVS or any other drugstore. I sprinkle it over the bulb when planting, before I cover it up with soil. Squirrels hate it.

Leave the tulip bulbs in the

By Almanac Staff

  • Leave the tulip bulbs in the ground and you may have repeat blooms for 2 or 3 years. Water is important right after planting to develop strong roots before winter. Also make sure that the soil is draining well so that the bulbs don't sit in water.
  • In the spring remove spent blossoms and let the leaves die back on their own.
  • Fertilize in fall and spring with low nitrogen fertilizer (well-rotted cow manure or special bulb fertilizer).

Thanks so much! You guys are

By Corty

Thanks so much! You guys are great!

i promised a friend that i

By monina caperiña dela cruz

i promised a friend that i will give him a bulb of tulips for planting...He is a professional agriculturist. But please tell me if it will grow in a tropical country, philippines... Will wait for your answer...Thank you..

Tulip bulbs need a chilling

By Almanac Staff

Tulip bulbs need a chilling period. The only way you can grow tulips in a tropical climate is to put the bulb(s) in the refrigertator for 6 to 8 weeks before planting.

I pre-ordered a bag of tulip

By Tammy P

I pre-ordered a bag of tulip bulbs from the Keukenhof when I was there last April, and they came this week. I live in Southern California, please tell me the best way to handle them, including refrigerating, to get beautiful blooms next spring. Thank you!

In your area, tulips can be

By Almanac Staff

In your area, tulips can be planted in November. Keep in mind that they need 4 to 6 weeks of chilling n the vegetable bin of your refrigerator.

Read all the posts. Saw that

By ssam

Read all the posts. Saw that many received a directed response. Impressive. More than impressive.
Think that I will get a Farmers' Almanac.

I live in San Ramon, CA (zone

By Nastya

I live in San Ramon, CA (zone 9B) and am planning to plant tulips for the first time. Should I plant them in November or put in fridge for chilling and plant them in early January? I want to dig them out after blooming but how do I need to store them for the next year? Would they bloom net year or I need to buy the new ones? I want to buy Red Impression tulips. Thanks

You need to refrigerate the

By Almanac Staff

You need to refrigerate the bulbs for at least 6 weeks before planting. Place the bulbs in a brown paper bag and then into the refrigerator. You can dig the bulbs after the tulips have bloomed and the leaves have turned brown. Dry the bulbs in a spot with good air circulation and then store them in a cool, dark area.

I recently received a bag

By nnn

I recently received a bag full of tulips. They sat a week, then I looked up info to plant them. They've sat again for a few weeks. Now, I am ready to plant them. I live in Florida, and based on the info, I should do pots. I'll try a few, but I also want to try some in the ground (the annual vs perennial thing is not an issue, as I live in an apt. and may not even be here in another year). Should I still fridge them for 8 weeks or so and wait later in the fall to plant them because of warm temps? Should I fridge them regardless before planting (in pot and in ground)? Can I plant them now, as the last few winters have certainly been chilly enough for me, why not for the tulips? They've been sitting out on the counter, in the bag, covered up for the time I've had them. How long will just these bulbs last-- say, if I don't want to plant them all now? Lastly, do I peel them before planting?

You need to refrigerate the

By Almanac Staff

You need to refrigerate the bulbs before planting and don't peel them. The bulbs will last a long time if kept in a cool, dark area.

I just purchased tulip bulbs

By Jessica Raine

I just purchased tulip bulbs from Costco today (Sept 27) about 100 of them. I live in northern California and read that I should put them in the refridgerator in late nov and plant in early Jan,is that true? Should I keep the bulbs in my garage until I put them in the fridge?

Yes, store bulbs away from

By Almanac Staff

Yes, store bulbs away from sunlight in a cool garage (or storage place) at 60° to 65° F. Avoid temperatures below 50° or above 70°F.
Then prechilled bulbs in the fridge for at least 4 to 6 weeks before planting. Plant the bulbs immediately after removing them from the refrigerator.

How do tulips do inthe

By K Barrett

How do tulips do inthe country. We live in Ga and have a lot of deer. My soil in the feneced in backyard doesn't drain well because most of it is gray clay. I have flower beds in the frount that drain pretty well but they arent protected from the deer.

Sorry to say that tulips are

By Almanac Staff

Sorry to say that tulips are salad for deer. One of their absolute favorites. I'm afraid fencing is the only true protection from deer. Repellent sprays based on the “rotten egg” smell have also been proven effective. But then you have to worry about voles also adore tulip bulbs and will consume them in the wild unless you use bulb cages for protection, too. Or, better yet, plant bulbs that deer do not prefer. Deer usually leave hyacinths alone. Daffodils are also NOT a favorite deer food.

I live in Wasilla, AK. I

By Indo

I live in Wasilla, AK. I brought some tulip bulbs and planted them in large flower pots on my deck. (When weather is nice I get a lot of sun on my deck) They came up and looks like they are going to bloom. I would like to save them for next year but would like to transplant them in a flower bed in my yard. Should I follow the instructions on replanting or leave them in the pots?

The tulip bulbs need a

By Almanac Staff

The tulip bulbs need a chilling period before they will bloom again. If you live in an area that has cold winters plant the bulbs in you flower bed in late fall before the ground freezes.

I planted tulips last year.

By madje

I planted tulips last year. They apparently bloomed before I got up here the last day in May and by that time the "leaves" had turned yellow-brown and fell off, leaving no evidence of the plants. Is this usual?

It usually takes about 6

By Almanac Staff

It usually takes about 6 weeks for the foliage to die down after blooming ends. If your tulip variety is an early-blooming type (often in late March to early April--depends on your climate), or if it bloomed early due to other circumstances (such as a mild winter or the bulbs were placed near a warm area, such as brick or pavement), then it is possible that the leaves had naturally died down by the end of May.

When do you clear away the

By John Lind

When do you clear away the remaining plant above the surface, and how far down the stock do you trim away? What if anything do you do with the large bulb at the top of the stock?

Foliage should not be mowed

By Almanac Staff

Foliage should not be mowed off until it turns yellow and dies back naturally; the plant is producing food for the following year. The leaves must remain on the plant until the foliage dies down. If they need to be moved, dig them when the foliage has yellowed and died. Pull off the spent foliage and store the bulbs in a cool, dry location until mid-September.

I live in VT, my tulips were

By sam labombard

I live in VT, my tulips were fantastic this year. I am concerned because my wife did not know to leave the green leaves and trimmed away for the day lilys behind the tulips.
I have never done this, will the bulbs be OK? or should I plan on another 120$ in sept-oct?

Sam Labombard from VT. I

By meredith

Sam Labombard from VT. I live in CT and bought tulips about 6-7 years ago. I planted the bulbs in the Fall and they came up with beautiful tulips in the spring. I enjoyed them fully until the leaves fell over and turned yellow at which time I cut them off close to the ground. I have always left the bulbs in the ground thru out the winter and they always bloom in the spring. "Easy" flowers to enjoy. I feed them miracle grow when I planted and when the leaves first peep thru up in the spring. good luck!S I am also a almanac reader but do not always follow their advice on things (or on the weather)

When the leaves are trimmed

By Almanac Staff

When the leaves are trimmed prematurely (while still green), the result is insufficient food reserves to support flowering next year.

Im from North Bay ON Last

By sarah tynan

Im from North Bay ON Last year I planted full grown tulips with their bolbs ofcours as a border they all started to come up early cause of hot weather in April it is June 5th now and some came up fully and now the ones that did come up already died. we did end up gettng cold wet weather again is this normal and will they come back next year? Also I had some people step on some by achsedent will this kill them for next year?

The weather can cause

By Almanac Staff

The weather can cause problems for spring bulbs. The bulbs will go dormant and you should have a nice display next year. After a couple of years you need to replace some of the original tulips to keep the blooms coming. The stepped on tulips should be OK as long as the bulbs didn't get damaged.

I live in Minnesota and

By Mary Mulhern

I live in Minnesota and planted tulip bulbs 3-4 years ago around a bush that had been planted prior to that (don't know the variety of the bush, it's about 3-4 feet high, not quite that wide). The bush is starting to look somewhat scraggly and my neighbor thinks it's because the tulips are encroaching on the bush's root system. Is that possible? Do tulips 'bully' other plants' growth?

The bush and tulips do

By Almanac Staff

The bush and tulips do compete for the water and nutrients in the soil. Water a little extra and add a layer of compost around the bush.

I live in Utah, and recently

By Diana Cox

I live in Utah, and recently received hundreds of bulbs that a friend dug up from her yard. I cut all of the old stems off, and I'm not sure what to do now. Do I need to dry them out before replanting in the fall? Can I cool them down and plant again? I want a full looking tulip bed, should I keep the clumps when replanting? Thanks for you help!

You can plant them now or

By Almanac Staff

You can plant them now or store them and plant in the fall. If you store the bulbs make sure they are nice a dry and keep them in a cool, dark location.
If you have clumps, try to separate the bulbs and plant them 4 to 6 inches apart.

I was given some double rose

By Vicki Charlene

I was given some double rose tulips for Mother's day. Their blooms have died and the green leaf part is turning brown also. I do not have a green thumb and was wondering how I take care of the bulbs. Do I need to cut off the green leaf/stalk part?

I am a Florida native and I

By El Cooper

I am a Florida native and I have bad news for you- tulips and Florida are not a happy combo. Between the Nematodes and rainy seasons I was never able to make ground planted tulips last.

I would suggest pots with great drainage and a mix of peat moss and humus and sand.

I live in Florida by the way

By Vicki Charlene

I live in Florida by the way

My tulips came up beautiful

By Tina Gile

My tulips came up beautiful this year. We had some gusts of wind a few days ago and all my tulips flowers have gone. Is there any way I can get them back? I live in Michigan, and it's late May.

My tulips bloom is long gone

By james ramsey

My tulips bloom is long gone but the leaves are still gree, I need to dig them up to have room for new flowers, can I dig them and let them dry or do I have to leave them in the ground and let their tops die before digging Thanks

I received purple tulips for

By BeckyPonce58

I received purple tulips for my birthday May 1. They were closed and then when they started to bloom they drooped. I noticed the bulbs were above the dirt, which I didnt notice when I got them. I would like to replant them. I live in San Pedro, Calif and am not sure how to care for them. I love them because they are my mothers favorite.

i was wondering how much

By Someone

i was wondering how much water these plants need per week in inches please thanks: plants: tulips lemons sunfloewrs rose bushses lettuce azalea bushes shasta daises and tomotoes thanks you i please need a reply asap

I do not have a green thumb.

By bemogirl

I do not have a green thumb. I had some bulbs planted for me last fall and they all came up this Spring with beautiful blossoms. My question is - do tulips multiply or spread? I noticed in one of your replies you said the bulbs multiply and should be dug up. If there are more than one bulb in a hole, will they still blossom? Thanks

Leave the bulbs in the ground

By Almanac Staff

Leave the bulbs in the ground for another year or two. Then dig them up after they have flowered and divide the bulbs. Replant the bigger bulbs and plant the smaller bulbs in pots for future use.

Purplish leaves?

By Anonymous

I bought tulips that were already blooming and planted them in my newly created flower bed. They looked good for the first few days but then I noticed that a few of them had wilted while some others did not. But I did notice on some of the plants that didn't wilt the leaves have a purple hue to them and I'm curious to know if this is a good sign or a bad sign? I'm new to the idea of gardening but trying to expand my horizons so I'm not clear on what is good or bad for which type of flower/plant.

If the tulips with the purple

By Almanac Staff

If the tulips with the purple leaves look healthy it probably is a tulip variety that has purple leaves. If the tulips start to wilt you may have a tulip disease called tulip fire or botrytis blight.

how late can I Plant tulip bulbs?

By Anonymous

I recieved tulip bulbs as a gift in May .. I live in Ohio ... can I still plant them now? Will they bloom this year? or should I wait till the fall? Where would I store them?

If the tulip was "forced" to

By Almanac Staff

If the tulip was "forced" to bloom, it may take 2 or 3 years to rebloom and you might want to decide if it's worth it. If you want to try to save it: When leaves die back, store the bulbs in a dark, cool place until fall planting time. Because few homes have a good storage place, it may be better to directly plant the bulbs outdoors now. See if they bloom again in the spring! You may be surprised!

Received tulips in a vase of water with bulbs

By Anonymous

I'm new to gardening and tulips are my favorite. For Mother's Day I received tulips with the bulbs still attached in a vase with water. The flowers have bloomed. I live in Georgia, if I plant them in the yard how long will they last?

tulips in water and trying to plant

By Anonymous

Hello! I got these gorgeous tulips the have bloomed now only in a vase of water as a gift as well, any answer found for when best time to transplant into the ground as the roots are plentiful and we live in Cincinnati...currently they are grougeous and in full bloom and i don't have the heart to through them away when they are finished, and am willing to try my best to see them again sometime next year in my yard! Thanks! I am not a green thumb either as you can see! LOL!

Planting Discarded Tulips

By Anonymous

My local university digs up their tulips every spring after the blooms fade, without waiting for the foliage to yellow. I have about 20 of these bulbs that I just picked up this morning and they were dug up this morning as well. Can I plant them right away to get the bulbs to store energy for next year, or are they done for?

No one answered you, so I'll

By Barry Wood

No one answered you, so I'll ask how it worked out. I have done what you're talking about, but it's essential to get them replanted immediately - and then not to have any too big expectations for that next year. Better results in two years.

Tullip planting time in Florida

By Anonymous

Good day. I live in Central Florida, Orlando. In what month should I plant my tulips? Thank you!

Central Florida is really too

By Almanac Staff

Central Florida is really too far south for perennial tulips (i.e., blooms year after year). You can purchase potted tulips and plant them out as annuals.

Winter salt

By Anonymous

A bed of tulip never came up this season. The bed is next to the driveway where I put down some winter salt to prevent icing. It was suggested to me that the ice may have killed their growth this season. Sound legit? Would this prevent future blossoming? Thanks

Tulips harmed by de-icing salt

By Anonymous

The ice was not the problem the salt was.
De- icing salt can harm plants. Salt runoff washes from pavement into the ground, increasing salt levels in the soil." To much salt hurts and stunts plants.

Tulips changed color!

By Anonymous

I planted purple tulips, and they came up pink this year! WHY? What can I do to get the purple color back?

Moving bulbs

By Anonymous

I am moving from MT to WY in June and want to take my tulips with me. They are just starting to bloom. What is the best way to move them?

saving finished bulbs

By Anonymous

I would like to remove my tulip bulbs from the flower bed for the summer and replant in the fall. Should I wait until the leaves are dry or can I do this immediately after the blossoms are gone? Also, where should I store the bulbs - would a normal dark basement be ok?

I would also like an answer

By Lois Ritter

I would also like an answer to this question. Husband wants to dig the bulbs and not replant till fall. I say "no", replant right away

will they make it?

By Anonymous

I got lots of tulip bulbs in amsterdam and planted them just now. Its spring here already. As I am scrolling through the information it seems the only time when the planting should have happened is autumn.
Is there any chance they will grow?

If all is well with the bulbs

By Anonymous

If all is well with the bulbs next spring you should see ur flowers only blooms in spring to early summer , well worth the wait if u plant bulbs in late spring early summer may get leaves only

pruchased bulbs

By Anonymous

I bought bulbs from.the store 3 weeks ago and planted them that day will they bloom?

red tulips turning yellow

By Anonymous

My red tulips are now yellow and I read they are iron deficient. If I feed them iron will they turn red again?

No Flowers

By Anonymous

From Connecticut ... We have lived here for the past 5 years ... for the first three years, be have had beautiful, short, red tulip blooms. The bulbs were planted by the previous owner. For the past 2 years the foliage has appeared but the flowers did not. Can you tell me why.

Tulip bulbs get crowded after

By Almanac Staff

Tulip bulbs get crowded after a few years. Dig up the bulbs this fall and see if you can save some of the bigger ones. Replant them about 4 to 6 inches apart.

Planting Tulip Bulbs

By Anonymous

April 14th - I just purchased Tulip Bulbs from Amsterdam, and live in Phoenix, AZ. Is it too late to plant them in the ground now, or should I wait till November?

Potted tulips

By Anonymous

I received 3 potted tulip plants in soil. I live in Thunder Bay, Ontario and it's still winter here. How can I keep them alive indoors and can I plant them outside in the garden when we actually start getting a spring??

Keep them in the pots until

By Almanac Staff

Keep them in the pots until the weather warms up and you can plant the tulips outside. Keep the pots in a cool room with good light. Water regularly to keep the soil moist. The tulips may bloom before you have a chance to put them outside.

will they freeze

By Anonymous

If my tulips are up and have not opened yet, will a 29 degree night kill them

Usually a light frost or

By Almanac Staff

Usually a light frost or light snow is OK. If it dips below 29 degrees you may want to cover the tulips with a sheet or blanket.

Tulips in NC

By Anonymous

I am used to growing in Michigan but an now in NC. Does it get cold enough to leave the bulbs in the ground or is it necessary to dig up and refrigerate every year?

If you're in zone 7 or

By Almanac Staff

If you're in zone 7 or warmer, tulips tend to be annuals. You can not use them next year and need to buy new bulbs. To have a better chance of blooms, it's best to chill them for 8 weeks in the fridge before you plant them in the fall.

potted tulips

By Anonymous

I have two potted tulip plants one most common tuli and the other said paradise tulip its bloomed more like a rose widely opened. When should I plant these outside to rebloom next year. I live in maryland btw.

After the tulips are finished

By Almanac Staff

After the tulips are finished blooming, you can store the pot with the bulbs in a dark, cool place and then plant the bulbs in the fall. This is better for reblooms. See more information in the Q&As below on this page.

my tulips is getting dried

By Anonymous

I bought a tulips plant few weeks ago now its stems are turning yellow and getting dried. what should i do. please help me.

Potted tulips, which bloom

By Almanac Staff

Potted tulips, which bloom just in spring, are usually forced for early bloom, which takes a lot of energy out of the bulb; it may take a few years before it reblooms, if at all. If you'd like to try to coax them to bloom another year or two, remove the dried leaves. Place the pot in a dark, cool, dry location. To prechill: In fall, place the pots in an area where temperatures are about 35 to 48 degrees F for 10 to 12 weeks. (You could dig up the bulbs, put them in a brown paper bag, and place them in the refrigerator, away from fruit and vegetables, for the prechilling requirement.) After the prechilling is over, gradually introduce the tulip bulbs (in pots) to a warm, sunny location (try cool, part sun, for a while). Keep up with the watering.

Potted tulip in Wisconsin

By Anonymous

I live in Wisconsin, got a potted tulip and the flowers are fading, will they come back again this year or is that it? So pretty but didn't last long! Should I cut the plant off and do what with the bulbs if they wont come back this year till I can plant them in a pot next year? I live in an apt. so no lawn!? Thanks from WI

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