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How to Grow Tulips, King of the Flowering Bulbs

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No doubt about it. Everybody loves 'em. That's why most homeowners grow at least a few of these attractive, easy to grow bulbs that herald the arrival of spring.

Everyone knows that tulips bloom in abundance in the spring. Every gardener, except perhaps the novice gardener, knows that spring blooming tulips must be planted in the Fall. And, planting tulip bulbs is a fun project.

Did you know? There are early, mid, and late blooming varieties. Make sure you consider this when planting tulip bulbs. You do want a continuous bloom in the spring, don't you!?

Tulip flowers come in a huge variety of bright colors, including white, yellow, pink, red, black, purple, orange, bicolors, and more. There are a profusion of mixed colors to select from, too. The true tulip grower creates a work of art in planting the tulip bed. Some tulip beds are truely a masterpiece, only limited by your imagination.

Size does matter! In the world of tulips, it's all measured in the circumference of the tulip bulb. This is where the energy is stored for next year's plant and bloom. The bigger the bulb (measured by its circumference), the bigger the bloom. When you buy tulip bulbs at discount and big department(box) stores, chances are your are getting what you pay for. If you want the biggest, best blooms, look for quality, name brand bulbs.

Tip: After blooming, let the plant continue to grow until it dies off. During the post bloom period, the plant is sending energy to the bulb to store for use next spring.


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The Origin of Tulips Everybody knows that tulips come from Holland, right!? ....wrong. Actually, Tulips are native to Central Asia and Turkey. In the 16th Century they were brought to Holland from Turkey, and quickly became widely popular. They became so wildly popular, that "Tulipmania" occurred in Holland in the 17th century. People traded tulip bulbs for literally a fortune. More on Tulipmania.

Tulips are cultivated in Holland in great numbers in huge fields. Today Dutch bulbs, including tulips and daffodils, are exported around the world.

Tulips should be stored in a cool, well ventilated area. The garage in summer, is definitely not the place to keep tulip bulbs. Many inexperienced gardeners pull up bulbs, and keep them in the garage until fall planting, only to find, the bulb dried up a few months later.


How to Grow Tulip Plants:

Plant tulip bulbs singly, or in groups. We do not recommend planting a large number of them close together, as they rapidly multiply. In a year or two, that small group will become a major clump of attractive plants, regardless of how many you plant together.

Plant tulips in the fall. When planting tulip bulbs, select a sunny location where the soil is not too wet or soggy over winter and during spring. Importantly, select a spot where you can see them from a window of your house.

Work the soil, adding compost to provide a rich bed for growth. Mix in a generous portion of bulb fertilizer. Plant each bulb singly, or in groups as desired.

The bulbs can be planted using a trowel, a bulb planter. Plant the bulbs to the proper depth of about 2-3 inches from the top of the bulb. Add a thin (not thick) layer of mulch on top if desired. This will help to protect them from freezing, and keep weeds down in the spring.

Your tulip bulbs are now ready for a long winter's nap. The plants awaken in early spring, and bloom in mid to late spring.


Forcing Tulips

Tulips can be forced to bloom indoors during winter months. When you buy bulbs in the fall, save a bulb or two, to try this fun and easy indoor garden activity. For Forcing bulbs, plant a few in a flower pot. The pot is then "chilled" or set in the cold for a few weeks. After a few weeks, the pot is brought indoors, and Voila, the tulips will grow and bloom indoors.

For complete instructions for growing tulips, by forcing tulips and other bulbs to bloom indoors, see Forcing Tulip Bulbs


Related Topics:

More on Tulips -  how to grow from bulb to bloom

Forcing Blooms - If you enjoy growing bulbs, you will also enjoy forcing blooms. Try it on pussy willows, forsythia, lilacs, and many more.

Flower Gallery  Find flower pictures of tulips, crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths and many of your flowers.

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