Growing Tulips in Containers

Tulips are one of the first signs of spring and have a delicate beauty. They are also one of springs most popular flowering bulbs.

You can grow tulips in pots and containers almost anytime of the year but spring and fall are the best times.

Spring container tulips.

  • If you don’t get you tulip bulbs in the ground in the fall you can store them in a dark area and bring them out in the late winter. Store the tulip bulbs in the refrigerator for a week for a cold treatment, which will make them grow quicker.

Fall container tulips.

  • Growing tulips in the fall is easy and is a reminder of spring. Quite often tulip bulbs will be on sale that didn’t sell in the spring and summer or you can buy them in June and store them in a dry cool area until fall. Start you fall tulips about six weeks before the last frost (September to October for most gardeners)

To plant tulips in container either in the spring or fall you will need tulip bulbs and a good quality potting soil mix.

I like a more natural looking container for tulips, preferably terra cotta. I usually plant four bulbs in a 6-inch pot and as many as 15 bulbs in a 25-inch pot. Make sure there’s about one-half inch of soil below the bulb and about an inch of soil covering the top of the bulb.

For spring planting I place the tulip containers on the porch during the day and bring them in at night. The fall tulip containers are placed outdoors in a cool shady spot and left there.

Whether you plant in the spring or fall, keep your containers adequately watered. This is very important during the first few weeks to avoid stunted or shriveled flowers. Make sure to water the plants regularly because containers do not retain moisture as well as ground soil.

When the tulips begin to flower you need to fertilize and feed the plants. This will keep the plants healthy and give you more flowers for a longer period of time. After the tulips have flowered, remove any dead flowers. Allow the leaves to die and fall off the plant and store the containers in a cool dry place until the next growing season.

Your tulip bulbs should continue to grow for many years and they will produce more bulbs for you to plant in the following years.

Tip: for those of you who love growing tulips but the squirrels and moles eat the bulbs – this is a perfect solution to the problem.

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