The Q&A Archives: Planting Tulips From Potted Plants

Question: I have just gotten 4 nice tulip plants that I would like to
put into the flower garden. After they are finished flowering, what do I do and when should I plant them. The only info I can find says to plant bulbs 9" down between 10/15 - 11/1. If that is the case how do I handle the bulbs until that time? Please help, I would love to enjoy these again.
Lauren Hodgin

Answer: The tulips need to grow their foliage and then it must be allowed to mature and then dry up naturally before it is removed. This process replenishes the bulb so it can grow and bloom next year.

You can plant them into the garden now or as soon as the blooms are done. Plant them at the same depth or slightly deeper than in the pot, water them well to settle air pockets, and then keep the soil slightly moist but not sopping wet until they become established. Allow the foliage to grow and fade naturally.

Forcing for pot sales is stressfull on tulips, but there is a chance they will bloom next year or the year after that. To help them along you might use a water soluble fertilizer according to the label instructions this spring, and apply a complete, all purpose granular fertilizer next fall and again in early spring as they begin to come up. Good luck with the tulips!

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