The Q&A Archives: Caring For Tulips

Question: We planted a number of tulips last Fall. This Spring we have beautiful tulips. We are not sure how to care for them. Should we trim them and if so when or do we just leave them alone?

Answer: Tulips need to grow and mature their foliage in order to replenish the bulbs for next year's display, so allow them to grow until the leaves are at least half way brown and come off easily in your hand with just a gentle tug. Then clean up and destroy the foliage. To help them direct their energy toward the bulb and not setting seed, dead head or remove the spent flowers being careful to take both the petals and the base of the flower. You could also apply a light feeding of a balanced granular fertilizer in very early spring as the bulbs emerge, again when they bloom, and again in early fall when they begin to root. Finally, you may want to mark their locations so you do not accidently dig them up during the gardening season.

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