Plant Now: Tulips

Yellow tulip

Have you been chilling your tulip bulbs in the fridge for the past few weeks? Then you can dig them out and plant them now. Whether grown in the ground or in pots, in frost-free areas tulip bulbs require a period of chilling before planting. In cooler areas, no chilling is needed, although chilling does produce taller plants and earlier flowering.

Tulips are best planted in late autumn (mid to late May) when the soil temperatures are cooler. Plant in a sunny position in deep, rich, well-drained soil. You can add a slow-release fertiliser to the soil when planting, or use a low-nitrogen, high-potassium fertiliser throughout growth. 

Tulips grow well in containers too, but potted tulips must be kept in a cool spot for several months for flowers to bloom successfully. Pots quickly heat up in sun, so place in a shady part of the garden and water enough to keep the soil just moist. When the first shoots appear, shift the container into strong light and then gradually into direct sunlight and increase watering.


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