The Q&A Archives: Tulips

Question: I live in the coastal area in Alabama. ( I just moved here as of 3 Months ago) I was wondering when to plant Tulips that I bought from Amsterdam. As of right now the tulips are being stored in the refrigerator. Also where do you recommend I plant them in the sun or in the shade. We also have clay in Alabama so what soil would you recommend I use for the tulips. I really want the tulips to survive.

Answer: You are right in keeping your tulip bulbs in the refrigerator. They need about 12 weeks of cold storage before they go into the ground. You can plant them in December or early January and they will bloom right on time. Clay soils can hold too much moisture and can make it difficult for bulbs to grow so right now, while the weather is still nice, I'd amend the planting bed with organic matter. Spread 3-4 inches over the top of the bed (or the proposed planting areas if you are scattering the bulbs over your entire landscape). Dig the compost or other organic matter into the soil about 8 inches deep. When it is all mixed in well, level the soil. When it's time to plant, dig holes for each bulb, providing several inches between bulbs to allow for good root growth. Tulips can be planted in morning sun. They flower best when they get at least 4 hours of sunshine but afternoon sun can sometimes be too intense for them so choose a spot with morning sunshine. Enjoy your tulips!

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