The Q&A Archives: Is It Too Late To Plant Tulip Bulbs?

Question: I am from Illinois and have several tulip bulbs that I haven't got into the ground fact it will be my first time planting tulips. Is it too late to plant? Are there any special instructions or care that I need to follow when planting them?

Answer: The optimal time to plant tulips is mid-October for your area. However, you are probably not too late if your ground is not frozen yet. Keep in mind that planting now will result in a later blooming period and possibly reduced bloom. This will self correct by the Spring of 1999 however. Be sure to follow the supplier's planting instructions, adding approximately 3-4" to the planting depth if you plan to naturalize the tulips, i.e., leave them in the ground permanently. Tulips demand excellent drainage so throwing a handful of pea gravel in the bottom of the hole at planting time would be helpful. I like to work in a bit of extended release bulb fertilizer such as Bulb Booster (Holland Company/Dutch Gardens 1-800-818-3861). Remember, if youplan on mulching the tulip bed do not do so until the ground has completely frozen and be sure to remove the mulch at the first sign of growth in the spring.

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