Planting tulip bulbs

Planting tulip bulbs

Flower bulbs |

The much-loved tulip is also one of the best-known flower bulbs in the world. You can start planting these spring-flowering bulbs in the autumn. That way, you will be able to enjoy a colourful garden packed with tulips in spring.

Tulip types

There are many different types of tulips and they come in all shapes and colours. Some varieties are barely recognisable as tulips. The lily-flowering tulip, as its name suggests, looks just like a lily. The best-known tulip is the single tulip. It's often seen in flower bouquets. While the double tulip is fuller as it has two layers of petals. Botanical tulips have smaller flowers and tend to be lower growing. They will naturalise in a quiet spot and grow happily for years.

Planting tulip bulbs

Tulip bulbs should be planted in the autumn, between September and December. So make a start in your garden now! Wait until the soil temperature drops below 10°C, but is still above freezing. The largest size of bulbs available need around ten weeks of temperatures below 10°C to get ready for their growing and flowering period. Native tulips originally grew in dry, sunny places, so you'll get the best flowers if you plant them in similar locations. You can plant the bulbs in open ground or flower pots.

  • Planting tulip bulbs in open ground

Tulip bulbs like light, clayey soils. The soil should not remain too wet, as this will prevent them from developing properly. They also thrive in direct sunlight. So, choose a spot that gets plenty of sunshine and has good drainage. Start by loosening the soil to aerate it. Dig a hole that is around three times as deep as the height of the bulb. Adjust the width of the hole for the number of bulbs that you want to plant together. Always pay close attention to the distance between bulbs that is indicated on the plant label. Place each bulb with its "nose" pointing upwards in the hole and fill this in with fresh potting soil for bulbs. Potting soil has just the right structure for the bulb to form roots. Then give it some water and let nature do its job.

  • Planting tulip bulbs in pots

If your garden has lots of paving or if you have a balcony, then flower bulbs in pots are truly a gift. Stick with just one colour or go for a full range. Bakker has ready-to-plant tulip mixes that you can simply put in a pot. Or you can get creative and come up with your own combinations. Just remember to make sure that your pots are wide and deep enough. Particularly if you want to plant layers of different types of bulb — known as lasagne planting. Start by putting a layer of pot shards or hydro grains at the bottom of the pot and then fill it with soil. Make sure that the pot has holes in the bottom so the water can drain away. Always plant the largest flower bulbs at the bottom, cover them with soil and then plant the smaller ones. Each bulb should be at a depth of two to three times its height. You can fill each pot to the brim for a flamboyant result. Surround the pots in bubble wrap to protect them against frost.

When do tulips flower?

Your tulips will be in full bloom between March and May, when you'll finally be able to enjoy all their colours. The best time for flowers is in May, when almost every type of tulip is in bloom. May is justly known as tulip month. The temperature and number of weeks that tulip bulbs will determine how strong the flowers are and how long they last. Tulips are annual flower bulbs, which means that they use up all the food stored in the bulb in one year. Bulblets may form, but they will only flower if they are very large. Lift the parent bulbs out of the ground once they finish flowering to make way for other bulbs. You can propagate tulips from seed, but it can take seven to ten years, so you'll need plenty of patience.  

When you buy flower bulbs, always check for a quality mark. Bulbs with a quality mark have been tested for quality and health. All the flower bulbs from have the Holland Selection quality mark. This foundation has awarded A status to flower bulbs from This means that their quality, purity, colour, size and health are of the highest possible quality. This is why provides a 100% flowering guarantee on all the flower bulbs in the range. Bakker's flower bulbs are the largest bulbs available on the market. These flowers bloom are even stronger, produce larger or more flowers and bloom longer.

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