Grow a Tulip Garden
Want to add a burst of color and life to your garden after so many months of dreary winter? Tulips are definitely the way to go. You can plant them in small groups scattered around the garden or in big blocks of color. The tulips first blooming season is usually it’s best and so many gardeners treat them as annuals replanting every year. You can often get from 3 to 5 years of blooming out of a bulb if you try.
To maximize your spring blooming time, choose various bulbs that bloom early spring, mid spring and late bloomers. Also, buy quality bulbs, the larger the bulb the bigger the flower.
Start your planting in late October or early November. Soil temperature should be below 60 degrees. Most bulbs say to plant two inches deep, a good rule of thumb is to plant them twice the diameter of the bulb.
Don’t let the fact that you live in a warm climate stop you from enjoying tulips.
If you don’t get much of a winter just refrigerate the bulbs for 8 weeks before you plant them and when you do plant them, plant about six inches deep or in a shady spot so your bulbs don’t warm up to quickly.
Put a few tulip bulbs aside and you can force them to bloom inside during the winter. Refrigerate the bulbs for 3 weeks first and then plant them in a pot of soil. Bring the pot inside and place it in a warm spot that gets a lot of sun, like a windowsill.
Tulips need well drained soil. Add plenty of organic material to your garden bed if your soil doesn’t drain well. Cultivate your planting bed down at least one foot and mix compost, bone meal and peat moss into the soil to feed the bulbs, encourage root growth and aid in drainage. Come spring time your bulbs will want another feeding.
Cover with a layer of mulch to protect them during the winter but remember to remove it come spring.
If you like cut tulips for indoor flower arrangements, just make sure that there is some above the stem or they won’t open.
Don’t remove the green foliage after the flowers are gone. Your bulbs need it to nourish them for next year’s tulip production. If you don’t want to leave the bulbs in the bed, you can heel them in. Choose an area of your garden that is out of the way and dig a shallow trench. Put the spent flower bulbs in the trench and cover with a layer of soil. Once the foliage has died back take the bulbs out, clean carefully with a soft brush so as to not remove the skin and store in a cool dry place. Bring them out next fall and plant them again.
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