We have been growing tulips in our garden in spring time for the last three or four of years. Initially we bought some beautiful red tulips that were already flowering in a pot.
We have been lifting and replanting the tulip bulbs every year and have had mixed success with the quality of the flowers.
Now that the tulips have died down for this year I have started to wonder – when is the best time to lift the bulbs and how I should store them?
I have found a few links that suggest that late spring (now!) is the best time to lift the bulbs.
The links suggest that tulip plants should be very yellowed-off or dry before you lift them. This ensures that any nutrients from the leaves have gone down into the bulbs. I have also learned that it is best to store the bulbs in a well-ventilated area over summer and to try and keep the bulbs at around 20 °C.
In previous years we have left the bulbs outside, in their pots, over summer and I now know that they probably got too hot. This will have definitely had an impact on the quality of the flowers the next year.
One trick to get better flowers, which we did now about, and have tried in the past, is to put the bulbs in the fridge for a few weeks before planting. In the past I have put my tulips in the fridge for about 4 weeks before planting. The links I found suggest that tulips can be placed into the fridge 6 to 8 weeks prior to planting.
I will definitely put my bulbs into the fridge a bit earlier next year!
It is best to plant the tulip bulbs out at the end of May (end of autumn). This ensures that the ground has really cooled off, which the tulips need. When you do plant out your tulip bulbs they like a sunny position.
Growing Tulips in Pots
If you are like us and you plant your tulips in pots, I suggest you place the pots in a partially shaded position. Because the tulip bulbs are above ground in the pots they can get quite hot if the pot is in the sun all day.
We put our tulip pots in a position that gets shade for part of the afternoon. This prevents the bulbs getting cooked in the pots!
Alternatively you can put pot and all into the ground where you want the tulips to flower. The following YouTube video has some great information and ideas for caring for tulips and planting tulips in pots.
Garden Time TV – YouTube video: Tulip Pots
If you want to read more about caring for tulips I can recommend the following links. These links have useful information about growing tulips as well as lots of tips to help you get your tulips flowering.
Last year we bought a few more pots of flowering tulips but they didn’t actually flower again this spring. I am hoping that we can use the information from the above links to help get the tulips flowering again next year!