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When do I plant my Tulip bulbs?


You probably have seen gardens and parks full with colorful Tulips. Tulips come in all different varieties, colors and sizes, some even multi-colored. They bring a smile on everybody’s face, with their vibrant colors and stunning appearances. These flowers are available in smaller varieties, but also very tall varieties. Perfect for any type of garden! But when do you need to plant your Tulip bulbs?

 

When to plant Tulip bulbs?

You’ll see Tulips early in Spring, mid Spring or some of them in late Spring. Since there are Tulip varieties with different blooming times, you can have Tulips the whole Spring long! What a great feeling, the winter is almost over, the days are longer and suddenly you’ll see Tulips everywhere popping out of your garden. But first you have to plant these beauties. Tulip bulbs need to be planted in the Fall, before the first frost comes in and the ground freezes. This way they can grow their roots and become strong. Ofcourse this differs per state. Keep in mind if you live up in the North you should plant your Tulip bulbs in or before October. If you live more down to the south you can wait until about November or December.

 

Till how late can you plant Tulips?

What happens if you plant your Tulip bulbs too late? Plant bulbs preferably at the end of September or October. You can plant them in December or January if your ground is still workable, but keep in mind the later you plant your bulbs, the smaller your flowers will be. Once again, this depends on the state you live in (we’ll come back to this subject later). When planting bulbs in pots make sure the pot won’t freeze too much, otherwise your bulbs won’t survive. You can offer them a hand to survive the frost by mixing dead leaves with soil, so this will create a natural isolation. Putting your pots along the wall of your home is also a solution.

Did you forgot to plant your Tulip bulbs, or didn’t had time to do this in the Fall or bought them too late? You may wonder if you’re too late to get them in the ground and enjoy your Tulips in Spring.

 

Can you plant Tulip bulbs in Spring?

Tulips are hardy bulbs, which means they need the cold to gather its energy and grow well in Spring. They need a chilling period of 14-16 weeks. This is also the main reason why you need to plant them in Fall, before the ground freezes.

Did you forgot this or where your bulbs gifted to you, and are you wondering now if you can still plant your Tulip bulbs in the Spring? Firstable, it depends on how you overwintered your Tulip bulbs, check the condition of the bulbs. Are they dry, falling apart or mushy?

Tulip bulbs can be planted in Spring as soon as the ground is not frozen and workable. But keep in mind that Tulips need the cold so they can use their energy to establish strong roots and grow in Spring. This is good news for Tulip lovers in the North, where it can be chilly in January, which is a great growing condition for Tulip bulbs.

If you plant them in Spring and they don’t have this period of cold, they’ll not be that tall as they would be when planted before the first frost. There is a chance they even don’t bloom at all!

 

When to plant Tulips in my state?   

Because every state has its own climate, it also has its own planting and growing conditions. So what goes well for the South, doesn’t goes up for the North and vice versa. The USDA divided the US in 13 hardiness zones whereby zone 1 is the coldest zone and zone 13 the most tropical. Don’t you know in which zone you live? Just check the USDA hardiness zone map! Before you buy flower bulbs, you should check if this particular bulb will do well in your hardiness zone.

 USDA hardiness zone map
USDA hardiness zone map. Source: https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/

 

How do I know which flower bulb is suitable for my zone?   

Dutch Flower Bulbs has made this easier for you by indicating which zones are suitable for each flower bulb. This will help you decide which flower bulbs are perfect for your living area and which are not.

                    Zones                                            When to plant?

Zones 8 and below <

Plant your Tulip bulbs preferably before the first frost arrives

For zones 9 and higher >

Plant your Tulip bulbs preferably in December or January (*Note: you must chill your Tulip bulbs for about 10 weeks prior to planting to create its natural growing condition)

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