All across the United States, the winter of 2014 will be remembered as the winter of extremes. You’ll have to wait a bit until the first spring tulips push their way through the ground, assuring anxious people that spring has officially arrived. In the mean time, you’ll be able to bring a touch of spring into your home – or share it with someone else, with Boyd’s Flowers Blooming Tulips bouquet. But for some tips for growing your own tulips, Boyd’s also has you covered.
Extending the Life of Your Cut Tulips
To enjoy your tulips for up to a week, cut the stems on a diagonal as soon as you get them. Then create a newspaper funnel to wrap around the top two-thirds of the stems (including the flower heads.) Fill a vase or glass with cool water and place the wrapped tulips in the water, leaving them there for about two hours. Come back and remove the newspaper funnel, re-cut the stems and place them in a vase of fresh water. Doing this should keep the stems from flopping over too soon, while also making sure the flower heads look nicer.
Tips for Planting and Caring for Tulips
The first and most important thing you need to know if you want to get your tulips to bloom in spring is when to plant them. Tulips originally came from Persia and parts of Asia. Sometime in the 14th century, they traveled with Nomads through the Himalayan foothills to Constantinople, in what is now Turkey. In their native habitat, tulip bulbs enjoyed cold winters and hot, dry summers.
- It’s important to plant tulips like other spring-blooming bulbs, in the fall, to ensure the bulbs set root before the first hard freeze. Always water tulips immediately after planting them, and then leave them alone, unless your area has extended periods of dryness.
- Be sure to plant tulip bulbs in soil that drains well. Avoid areas that get water-logged or soggy because excessive wetness causes the spread of fungal diseases, or root rotting, both of which kill bulbs. Don’t over water bulbs because that is as damaging as poor-draining soil.
You can improve drainage in poor-quality soil by amending it with organic matter like well-rotted leaf mold, compost, shredded pine bark and coarse sand. Make a point of adding compost to the planting area at least once a year. If you plant your tulips in a sunny spot, the sun may also help the soil dry out faster, but organic material is necessary for aeration and good drainage below the surface.
- If you want to enjoy a colorful tulip display from late march through May, mix your tulip bed with early, mid-season and late blooming varieties. Space bulbs at least 4 to 6 inches apart. Bulbs reproduce through small bulblet offsets from the mother bulb, so the planting distance creates space for the new growths.
Tulip bulbs need to be planted 8 inches deep in the soil. Measure the depth from the base of the bulb. If you can’t dig that deep into the soil, or don’t want to do that, consider planting tulips in raised beds. You have much more control over the soil quality in a raised bed than you do in the ground.