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Video:How to Grow Perennial Tulips

with Paige Glidden O'Connor

Tulips can bloom for a few years if you plant the right variety in a soil they can thrive in. Watch this About.com video on how to grow perennial tulips, including unique ways to store the tulip bulbs and trim the flowers.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Grow Perennial Tulips

Hi, I’m Paige Glidden O’Connor, owner of An Eclectic Stem in Kansas City, Missouri.  Today we are going to be talking about the best way to grow perennial tulips on About.com.

Darwin Tulips Last Several Years

There are over 3,000 varieties of registered tulips.  Some of them better make much better perennials than others.  Many people looking for tulips to return year after year will purchase Darwin tulips because of their size and beauty and ability to sustain for several years.

Best Soil for Growing Tulips

Tulips like a loamy soil that's not too dense, so that there is good drainage.  Soil that is overly moist may rot the bulb.  Tulips need at least six hours of sunlight to thrive and do best when planted in full sun.

Tulip bulbs should be planted in the fall before first frost.  The soil should be dug and loosened about a foot down.  It is a good idea to use compost to amend poor soil, but there is no need to fertilize tulip bulbs planted in proper soil at the time of planting, although fertilizer in the spring can help the flowers flourish.  Many gardeners will use bonemeal, but be careful as this can be a draw for unwanted critters.

Tips for Planting Tulips Bulbs

Use high quality bulbs without bruising or mold.  They should not be soft.  The bulbs should be planted about six inches down with the pointy part of the bulb facing up and recovered with soil.  I like to plant bulbs about two times their width apart, for the best show.  It is very important to plant them level so they all bloom at the same time.

Do not over-water the bed, you may add a small amount of water with a garden can at the time of planting to dry soil, but except in extreme cases the bulbs do not need extra water to help them grow.  Too much water causes rot.  Putting a layer of mulch down in the winter can help prevent freezing.  Bulbs need a cold winter to form, so if you live in a mild climate you may have to put your bulbs in the refrigerator for eight weeks before planting in the spring.  Keep them in a paper bag away from ripening fruit, and do not let the bulbs freeze.

Proper Care for Tulip Blooms

Once the tulips begin to come up you can water and fertilize them.  When they bloom enjoy the flower, but be sure and cut the flower off once it begins to wilt if you wish to save your bulbs to regrow the next year.  Do not cut back the stems and leaves until they begin to yellow as they are important for collecting nutrients for next years flowers.  Take this into consideration when planning your garden scape, as many people do not like the look of the tulips once the blooms are gone.  Mixing them with other perennials can soften the look. 

In some areas that have dry summers it may be okay to leave the bulbs in the ground for the next year, otherwise they can be dug up and kept cool and dry to be replanted in the fall.

Good luck with your perennial tulips and for more tips and tricks check us out on the web at About.com.

 

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