Tips for Planting Tulip Bulbs for Spring Growth

Author: jlbdev,

Published On: October 14, 2019

Who doesn’t like tulips? There’s a reason they are so frequently found in bouquets. In fact, they came in right behind roses as the second most popular wedding flowers, according to They’re classically beautiful. There are numbers of gorgeous varieties. And, the best part, you can grow them in your yard!

Tulips bloom in the spring, which means the best time to plant them is right now (as long as you’re reading this in the fall). That’s right—you still have time to guarantee yourself a spring full of fresh, colorful tulips right outside your windows.

So how do you make this happen? Well, first you order bulbs from Daylily Nursery by clicking here, and then you follow our handy guide below. 


As we said above, tulip bulbs need to be planted in the fall. It might seem weird to plant tulip bulbs right before the ground freezes, but this extra time actually helps them. This time spent in cool temperatures triggers biochemical processes needed to flower come springtime. Just be sure to get those bulbs in the ground about six weeks before the first hard freeze. This will allow the bulbs time to grow strong roots. A good indicator is when the temperature begins to drop below 40-50 degrees at night, it’s time to start digging.

Choosing a Location

When the time is right, locate a place in your yard that will give the tulips the best chance to survive. There are a few considerations to take.

  1. Amount of space: You’re going to want enough room to plant the bulbs 4-6 inches apart. So keep in mind how many you plan on planting, and make sure you have the proper space.
  2. Shade: Find an area that won’t receive too much sunlight. We here in middle Tennessee are in zone 7 (enter your zip code into the Hardiness Zone tool on the right side of the page to find your exact zone). This means we need to find a shady spot, or at least one with morning sun only. If you’re not in zones 7 or 8, finding a location with afternoon sun will be just fine.
  3. Drainage: Tulips don’t like a lot of water. Think of the last time it rained. Did you notice any parts of your lawn that had pools of water? Avoid those spots. You want to find an area with really good drainage to ensure you don’t drown your tulip bulbs with the spring showers come.

Cracking the Ground

You’ve found your perfect location. The crisp autumn air is telling you the frost is coming. It’s the perfect time to get your tulip bulbs into the soil.

  • Step 1: Loosen the soil about a foot down
  • Step 2: Plant the bulbs at least eight inches down (a little further for bigger bulbs)
  • Step 3: Set the bulb in the hole with the pointy end up
  • Step 4: Cover the bulb with soil and firmly press it down
  • Step 5: Water the bulbs (this promotes growth)
  • Step 6 (optional): If you are planning on your tulips being perennials, mix in some balanced fertilizer 

But What If It’s Too Late?

It’s (almost) never too late! You can plant your bulbs in the winter, it’s just going to be a little harder. You can still plant your bulbs as long as you can still get your shovel into the dirt. Loosen the soil as before and place the bulbs in the dirt. Tulips are hearty plants but you should keep your expectations modest. They might not bloom as early as other tulips and they could end up being smaller than normal. But that’s still better than no tulips at all!

Caring For Your Tulips

It’s finally spring and your tulips are emerging from the soil. Now what?

Remember: They Don’t Like a Lot of Water

It tends to rain a lot in spring. So unless you have an unusually dry spring, you shouldn’t have to water your tulips too often. Wait a week after a good rain to water your tulips. If you’re experiencing a drought, wait a week between waterings. Wet soil can rot the bulbs and grow fungus. If you’re worried you might get too much water, sand or other rough materials can be worked into the dirt to aid drainage. 


Remove the head of the flower once it is spent. However, leave the rest of the plant intact. The leaves will continue to gather nutrients for the plant which it will use for the next year. Once the leaves yellow and die, go ahead and trim them off.


Tulips are usually able to return for a few years with proper care. Replanting is an option if you want to ensure flush, full flowers every year. But remember, these plants are tough. They are able to endure a lot as long as they aren’t overwatered.

Ready to get your tulips planted? Click here to order your bulbs today!