When to Plant Tulips - Knowledgebase Question

Boston, MA
Question by BILLHARNE
November 18, 1997
When is the best time to plant tulips in the fall for good bloom in the spring? How far apart should the bulbs be planted?


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Answer from NGA
November 18, 1997

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In your region, the best time to plant them is from mid-October to mid-November, but you can plant hardy bulbs until the ground is too frozen to work. Planted too soon, bulbs may start growing and get zapped by frost. If you purchase bulbs well ahead of time in order to get the ones you want, store them in a consistently cool, dark place until planting time to avoid mold, rotting, drying out, etc.

As far as planting depth and spacing, they should have about 3 times their own depth of soil above them. A good guide is to allow about 3-5 times that same distance between the bulbs for spacing. Be sure to plant them right side up! A tulip bulb is pointed at the top and flat on the bottom. So have it pointed in the direction it should grow. UP!
You can either plant them individually, digging a hole for each one. OR you can dig a large hole, of the right depth, and plant a lot of them(properly spaced) at a time in that hole.
Since bulbs are generally left where they are planted for quite a few years, it is a good idea to fertilize them when they go into the ground. Most places where you buy bulbs sell a "bulb booster" or fertilizer. Another good one is blood meal.

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