The Q&A Archives: What Is The Best Way To Care For My Tulip Bulbs?

Question: I recently bought a container with six tulips in it. The flowers are beginning to fade and I would like to keep the bulbs. The tulips have four flowers per stem and are quite striking, so I think it is worth the effort to try to replant them and hope they come back. My question is, what is the best way to care for them? Should I transplant the entire container of soil now in the spring while the foilage is still green, or should I let the foilage die down and store them until fall? I know they may not come back, but these are worth a try. Thanks for your help.

Answer: You can plant them outside once they are conditioned or hardened off. To do this, place them in a sheltered location out of the wind and in the shade. Protect them on nights when temperatures fall below 40 degrees until they are planted in the ground. Gradually move them into sunnier positions over about ten days. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and remove the flowers when they fade. When you are ready to plant, plant them at the same depth as they grew in the pot and plant the entire rootball, soil and all. Water to settle the soil, and allow the foliage to grow, mature and ripen naturally to help replenish the bulb. Next fall whent he bulbs begin to grow again and again early next spring just as the tips begin to show, apply some compost and/or a complete fertilizer according to the label instructions. I hope they come back for you.

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