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Tulip Bulb Planting Instructions


    • When planting a tulip bulb, it is important to place the bulb in the soil at the correct position. A tulip bulb has a top and bottom. The top of the bulb is where it comes to a point. The bottom of the bulb is where the roots grow; it tends to be flatter or more curved. Insert the bottom of the bulb in the soil first, with the pointed end on top. Do not plant a tulip bulb on its side, or upside down.


    • If a bulb is planted too deep, the plant may exhaust itself before reaching the surface. Yet, if it is too shallow, the bulb can be killed by frost, and may dry out. Plant the bulb so that the depth of the soil that covers it is three times the bulb's diameter. The deeper a tulip bulb is planted, the less it will multiply, yet a deeper-planted tulip may produce a plant that will continue to flower for up to eight years.


    • Add bone meal to the soil prior to planting, at a rate of 5 to 6 lb. per 100 square feet of soil. After the shoots begin to appear, scratch a dusting of 5-10-5 fertilizer into the soil. Outdoors tulips grow well in five to six hours of direct sunlight a day. Depending on your climate zone, the bulbs may need to be refrigerated at 40 to 45 degrees F for about eight weeks prior to planting in late November or December. Check with your local garden center for the appropriate method and planting time for your specific type of bulb and climate zone.


    • Grow tulips inside in a 5-inch pot filled with potting soil that's enriched with 5-10-5 fertilizer (1 tsp. of fertilizer to 1 qt. of soil). Fill the pot to about 3 inches below the rim of the container, then add several bulbs and cover with soil. The bulbs should be spaced about ½ inches apart. Allow the tips of the bulbs to be exposed, and pat down the soil before and after you add the bulbs. Water thoroughly and set the pot in a cold frame, covered with 4 inches of shredded Styrofoam. Keep the sash open for about a month after the first frost, then close. After about 12 weeks, move the container to an area with indirect sunlight and temperatures about 50 to 55 degrees F. After the shoots are about 4 inches tall, move the plant to a sunny area.

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