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Tulips come in almost every colour, and a wide range of sizes. The dwarf "rockery" tulips are tough and often flower with frost on the ground. The later, larger tulips are also hardy but prefer higher light levels, and locations where they are sheltered from the wind. Planted in a border, they spread and put on a show before your perennials and sweet peas are ready to strut their stuff. You can see the rest of our range of spring flowering bulbs here, and all of our garden bulbs here.
There is more detailed information on tulip bulbs in the advice section of this site, but here are some fairly concise answers to the questions most usually asked:
Almost certainly, they are not fussy plants but are happiest with the following:
Breeders produce new varieties every year. About 170 hold an Award of Garden Merit from the RHS which is an astonishing number. So any list of recommendations will omit world-class flowers, but here are just a few of our favourites:
Late October - early December. This is because the lower soil temperatures in late Autumn help kill the diseases in the soil which can infect tulips.
Before any detail, there is a simple division to make depending on your soil. If it is wet and acidic, tulips will flower perfectly well, but they won't establish and you will need new bulbs every year. Full stop (don't waste your time with what follows, just treat them as annuals). If your soil is neutral to alkaline then if you take a bit more trouble most tulips will establish and multiply if well planted. Dig a hole 6-8" (20cm) deep, spread a couple of inches of compost in the bottom and put the bulbs on it 3" apart. Cover with soil. If you plant as deep as this they will flower more reliably in subsequent years.
For strong establishment and the best flowering, we recommend using the Bulb Starter Rootgrow blend.
Keep weed-free. Dead-head as soon as the petals have fallen. Feed with a high potassium fertiliser like ‘Tomorite’ weekly for four weeks after flowering. When the foliage has completely died down, you can lift (see below) or cut the leaves off and leave the bulbs in the ground.
Depending on the tulip variety and your situation, there are times when it is best to remove bulbs from the soil overwinter, after the leaves have died down.
If you choose lift your bulbs, clean off any soil and throw away any that are diseased, damaged or undersized. Spread them out to dry completely before hanging them in net bags in a dry, warm, dark, place where they can stay until replanting time.
On the plant, in cool weather tulips can last for as long as six weeks. Indoors they can still look good as cut flowers for up to 10 days. Cut when they are still in bud and just showing some colour. Put the stems directly into a vase of lukewarm water containing a teaspoon of sugar and a very little bleach out of direct sun. Keep water level about 1/3rd up the stems and change every 3-4 days. Rotate the vase daily.
Most of our plants and bulbs are UK grown, but not tulips. Holland is the home of tulips, and we import only their premium grade bulbs. Generally speaking, bulbs that you buy on special offer at the supermarket are not premium sizes, which is why they are cheaper!
All our tulips are covered by our no-quibble Guarantee, which means you can order with complete confidence. Free delivery on orders over £60. Best advice & friendly support throughout.
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