How to Plant Tulips

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blooming red and pink tulips in front of a home.
So, you’re looking for a way to add some color to your garden, and you’ve decided tulips are the perfect flower choice. We can’t disagree! With a huge range of possible colors, you can use tulips to transform your garden into a rainbowed feast for the eyes. Of course, before you can look upon a gorgeous colorful garden, it has to be planted! You could hire a professional landscaping service to do it all for you, or you could give it a try on your own. For all you DIYers out there, here is how to plant tulips.

In the following sections, we’ll explain how to plant and care for tulips so that you too can build the garden you’ve always wanted:

  • When and Where to Plant Tulips
  • How to Plant Your Tulip in the Ground and in a Container
  • How to Care for Your Tulip After Planting

When and Where to Plant Tulips

If you’re starting from bulbs and not transferring an already established tulip plant from a pot, then you should plant your tulip bulbs in the fall. After planting the bulbs, it will take about two seasons (fall and winter) for them to bloom, just in time for spring.

You may be wondering about how long it takes to grow tulips if you just plant the seeds instead of a bulb. Typically, it takes around seven years for a tulip seed to develop into a full flower. Unless you’re a gardening aficionado or well-versed in raising flowers, we don’t recommend trying to grow tulips from seed.

It’s important to plant these flowers in one of the sunniest areas in your yard. They tend to thrive in full sun, but a partially shaded area can also work, and may be preferable if you live in an area with extremely high temperatures. Conversely, full sun is strongly recommended if you live in an area where temperatures often dip below freezing in the winter months.

We recommend planting in well-draining soil. This reduces the risk of drowning the tulip should you ever overwater or have heavy rains.

If you are planting multiple tulips, make sure to plant the bulbs at least four to five inches apart so that they do not compete for nutrients or get their roots too tangled.

How to Plant Your Tulip in the Ground and in a Container

While it’s lovely to think of a verdant garden teeming with freshly blossomed tulips, not every environment allows your plants to flourish. Here’s how to plant your tulips in the ground and in a container.

Planting Tulips in the Ground

When planting tulips in the ground, you should bury the bulb, pointy end up, about six to eight inches deep. When planting outside, make sure to avoid soggy soil as bulbs have a hard time establishing themselves when the ground is wet. We recommend planting them when the soil is cool, about 60°F.

Planting Tulips in a Pot

Follow the same rules as planting tulips in the ground. Dig about six inches down and plant the bulb, pointy end up, in the center of the pot. Use a pot that is fairly large (at least one foot deep and eight inches across) in order to allow the tulip to flourish.

How to Care for Your Tulip After Planting

Once you’ve lovingly placed your tulip bulb in its home, you need to make sure to properly care for it. These tips are for flowers planted outdoors, but you can use almost all of them for tulips that are potted; just eliminate the tips that deal with weather.

Tulips are surprisingly low maintenance for how beautiful they are. After planting the bulb in cool soil, water the bulb well one time. Once that’s done, all you should do is wait for spring. It’s that easy.

Of course, if you live in a desert environment, or anywhere else that gets almost no rain throughout the winter months, you should lightly water the bulb about once a week. We recommend erring on the side of underwatering, as these bulbs don’t require too much water until springtime.

Once they have blossomed, you can water them lightly every so often, unless it rains frequently where you live. And that’s all there is to it!

Bring Your Dream Tulip Garden to Life

Now that you know how to plant tulips, you can set to work turning your garden into a multi-colored paradise! If you’re interested in learning about more gardening tips, or hiring professional gardeners and landscapers to beautify your home — you’re in the right place. Click the button below to see how The Grounds Guys, a part of the Neighborly family of services, can help you bring your floral dreams to life!

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