The winter of 2014 will rewrite weather history books as one for extremes beyond what anyone could ever imagine. Not surprisingly, winter-weary Midwesterners are anxious to see bare ground again, and it can’t happen soon enough. People often find cheer in seeing those beautiful tulips that burst through the ground as soon as it warms, but at this rate, they’ll have to wait.
If you are too impatient to wait, don’t despair. Griffins Floral Designs has the perfect solution for you: the Spring Time in Paris bouquet. This gorgeous over the top arrangement is filled with spring colors, and a combination of roses, carnations, tulips and other flowers that is sure to bring that spring feeling into your home or office. If you’re just looking forward to planting your own Tulips this year though, we’ve also got you covered!
What You Need to Know About Planting Tulips for Spring Blooms
If you’re going to plant tulips, plan to do it in the fall. The area where tulips originated is known for cold winters and very hot, dry summers. The purpose of planting the bulbs in fall is to make sure the bulbs root, because the roots will absorb nutrition from the soil to feed the bulb over the winter. Be sure your tulip bulbs are in the ground a good six to eight weeks before you have the first hard freeze.
Choose a sunny spot where the soil has excellent drainage. Tulips cannot stand to sit in soggy soil. Poor drainage or excessive wetness are guaranteed death sentences for tulips. If you don’t have rich, fertile soil, you may want to amend it with compost, well-rotted leaf mold, sand, pine bark or anything that will break up hard soil so that it drains well and gets good air flow. If you want to go an easier route, consider planting your tulips in raised beds. You’ll have much more control over soil quality that way.
Plant tulip bulbs deep in the soil – at least 8 inches, measuring from the bottom of the bulb. Plant your bulbs at least 4 inches apart to give them room to spread, and to give the baby bulblet offshoots room to grow. Tulips are grouped into three divisions, depending on when they bloom. To enjoy them for the longest time, choose a mixture of early blooming, mid-season blooming, and late season blooming varieties.
Water your bulbs immediately after planting them. Feed them with a water-soluble all-purpose bulb fertilizer. After planting them, you shouldn’t need to water them again – unless you have long periods of dryness. Once the bulbs sprout in spring, start fertilizing them again. You can continue to fertilize them when you water them, about once a month, but only during the growing and blooming periods. At least once a year, you should spread compost or other organic matter to the growing bed.
Since bulbs spread by producing new offshoots, you will need to divide your plants within two or three years. You should probably do this in the fall to allow the new transplants to get strong before frost.