If you want to fill your garden with colour next year – plant Tulip bulbs in the autumn. Tulips will give you intense displays of colour for very little effort. And they’ll come back year after year.
Tulips are some of the most popular spring flowers and come in over 3,500 registered varieties and hybrids in countless colours, shapes and sizes.
Although Tulips are known for their relatively short flowering period, by mixing up the varieties you plant, you can enjoy bursts of colour spread over two to three months.
Tulips are divided into early, mid, and late season flowering tulips. Tulips can be accommodated in any garden and are very easy to grow. Bulbs are planted in autumn and flower in the spring.
When should it be grown?
- You can plant tulip bulbs from September to November, right up until the first frost.
- In general, when buying bulbs, the bigger the better! The larger the bulb the better and healthier the bloom.
- Pick firm bulbs and plant them soon after you buy them or they’ll start to sprout
How to plant tulips
- Pick a location that’s well drained – tulip bulbs are prone to rot in very wet ground
- Once you’ve chosen your spot you’ll need to dig a hole or make one using a bulb planter tool. You can also open a narrow trench with a spade
- Plant the bulbs pointy side up either on their own or throw a few into each hole
- Ideally, plant the bulbs 6-8 inches apart and at a depth twice the height of the bulb.
- Don’t worry about bulbs being planted the wrong way up or too close together. However you do it, they’ll make their way up and will flower just as well.
- In the spring you’ll see the shoots poke through the soil.
- After the tulips bloom, let the plant continue to grow until it dies off. Don’t cut off the leaves or tie them up.
- Once the flowers have started to fade it’s a good idea to cut the blooms. This way the plant can conserve energy for the next season’s growing period
Where should it be grown?
- The tulips will bloom in almost any soil with good drainage and in the sun. Mix in plenty of organic material such as compost.
- Tulips are suitable for the rock garden, beds, borders and containers.
- Try planting different varieties in layers in your containers, leave around 10cm of compost between each layer. You’ll get a great display, and then another and another.
Are there any particular varieties that are most suitable in Ireland?
Any other additional tips.
- Watch for slug damage as they come up and use organic slug pellets or copper tape around pots to stop this from happening.
- When in bloom in the spring keep an eye out for Aphid damage – watch out for streaking of the flower blooms
- Tulips look great planted in your lawn – for a natural look just scatter some bulbs on your lawn and then plant them wherever they fall.