Species Tulip Planting Guide

Most species tulips, unlike their larger Dutch cousins, don't require a chilling period to prepare them for their splendid spring show. Either warm outdoor temperatures in mild climates or chilly winter weather will suit them just fine. Also, unlike their flashy hybrid sisters, species tulips tend to be long lived and will naturalize nicely when planted in a hospitable site. We love these smaller beauties and their willingness to happily thrive in tough, dry conditions. They're inexpensive and easy to plant; try a bag this year and we're betting you'll be back for more next fall.
PLANTING
DEPTH

6 Inches

WATER
QUANTITY

Light to Moderate

SUNLIGHT
QUANTITY

Full sun

PLANTING
PROXIMITY

12-14

Outdoor Beds
  1. Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still puddles of water 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2 - 3 inches to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available.
  2. Plant your tulips where they will get full sun to light shade. Keep in mind that for tulips to return in subsequent springs they will need a period of winter cooling. This happens easily in northern areas and will occur to the cooler parts of zone 8. (Some bulb sellers suggest that tulips will return after growing the year round warmth of zone 9. Sadly, it's just wishful thinking.)
  3. Plant your tulips where they will get a generous helping of early season sunshine. This can be a full sun site or even a location under deciduous trees, a spot that is shady later in the year. By the time the trees's leaves unfurl, your tulips will have finished their show and will have slipped into dormancy until next spring. Position the bulbs with the pointy end facing up.
  4. Planting species tulips is easy, you don't need to dig down far. Tuck the bulbs just 3-4" inches below the surface. Spacing of 3 inches apart is ideal.
  5. After planting, water well once, gently soaking the soil to settle it around the roots. Roots will form in the autumn. Foliage and flowers will develop in the spring.
  6. When in bloom, feel free to species tulip flowers for tiny, colorful bouquets.
  7. After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulb for the future. Water as needed during active growth periods; about 1" of moisture per week is a good estimate.
  8. By the early summer the leaves will yellow and die back. The dried foliage may be removed at this point. Your bulbs will rest until next spring when they'll beginning the next growing cycle. Withhold water when leaves are absent and the bulbs are dormant.


Pots, Barrels, Tubs & Urns
  1. Start with containers of good quality, well-drained soil. Species tulips that sit in water logged soil will rot.
  2. Plant your tulips where they will get a generous helping of early season sunshine. This can be a full sun site or even a location under deciduous trees, a spot that is shady later in the year. By the time the trees's leaves unfurl, your tulips will have finished their show and will have slipped into dormancy until next spring. Position the bulbs with the pointy end facing up.
  3. Planting species tulips is easy, you don't need to dig down far. Tuck the bulbs just 3-4 inches below the surface. Close spacing in containers, about 2-3 inches apart, is ideal.
  4. After planting, water well once, gently soaking the soil to settle it around the roots. Roots will form in the autumn. Foliage and flowers will develop in the spring.
  5. When in bloom, feel free to species tulip flowers for tiny, colorful bouquets.
  6. After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulb for the future. Water as needed during active growth periods; about 1" of moisture per week is a good estimate.
  7. By the early summer the leaves will yellow and die back. The dried foliage may be removed at this point. Your bulbs will rest until next spring when they'll beginning the next growing cycle. Withhold water when leaves are absent and the bulbs are dormant.