Tulip bulbs are typically planted in the fall, but what happens when you forget to plant them or you miss a few? Here’s how to plant tulip bulbs in winter!
What Do You Do With Forgotten Tulips?
One January, I came across a bag of tulip bulbs that had gotten misplaced in my gardening shed. Evidently, the dozen tulips hid when I planted over 150 other bulbs in October. I was looking forward to seeing this variety’s colors lining my garden path. At least, that was the plan.
After doing a little research, I came across a study about planting tulip bulbs on top of the ground and late in the season, done by Cornell University. Researchers found that you can grow gorgeous tulips in only mulch, 2 inches being the optimum depth. They experimented with mulch layers up to six inches deep and determined the two-inch covering (renewed every autumn) produced the largest amount of flowers and the most vigorous plants.
How to Plant Tulips in Winter
According to the Cornell study (done over a six-year period), you should plant tulips this way:
- Clear away snow and loosen soil, if possible. If not, choose an area with soil full of organic matter.
- Scratch in bulb fertilizer. If the ground is totally frozen, scatter fertilizer sparingly and over a larger range than normal.
- Place bulbs on top of soil. Do not press them in, as this will damage the bulb base, where roots form.
- Cover with 2-4 inches of aged mulch or finished compost. Go for the thicker layer if planting during the height of winter, like I did.
- Renew mulch covering often to be sure there is at least a two-inch layer.