Every year I impatiently wait for those first signs of spring. The sun rising a little earlier, those first green buds on the trees, a few more birds chirping and the first spring-flowering bulbs pushing through the soil.
Nothing (besides my little ones) can make me happier than those first blooms of the season! Honestly, I appreciate spring flowers much more than the abundance of the summer flowers.
Tulips are some of the easiest flowers you can grow - plant them and forget them and then taa-da!
Here are a few tips how to have the most beautiful healthy tulips in the spring!
WHAT TO PLANT
Tulips have been popular for hundrets of years and the breeders have come out with many beautiful varieties. Tulips are categorized in to early blooming, mid and late-season. To extend your blooming season plant a combination of the 3.
The best specialty tulip varieties that will perennialize are Darwin, Scheepers and Fosterina. Peony and parrot tulips do not perennialize readily and may produce smaller blooms or display a change of color and shape over time.
WHEN TO PLANT
In the Pacific Northwest bulbs can be planted anytime from October through December.
In the South (zone 6 and 7b, e.g., north Georgia), plant in October to November.
In the North (zone 6 and lower) in September and early October.
In the Deep South (Florida, South Texas, Southern California) bulbs must be precooled (8-10weeks at 40-45F) and planted in late November through December.
HOW TO PLANT
Plant in a well draining spot. Overly wet soil can lead to fungus, disease and rot. Avoid overhead watering as that can damage the flowers and also cause them to rot. If you are planting new bulbs choose a new bed every year for 7 years because of Tulip fire ( a fungal disease that cannot be controlled).
Fertilize the beds 7 days before planting to give the fertilizer time to dissolve. I do not believe that fertilizing is necessary - a healthy dose of compost should do the trick instead. Compost can also burn plants it it's not fully cured. To make sure, wait a week after mixing it into your planting area.
After the flowers finished blooming, keep the foliage until it turns yellow and wilts to the ground. The leaves are gathering energy and storing it in the bulb for next season's growth. If you dig up the bulb without letting it soak up the energy from the sun and soil, you will not be able to replant it.
Flower Farmers that pull their bulbs out of the ground to get longer stems, do not replant the bulbs. They simply get tossed into the compost and new bulbs are planted each the following season.