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Purchasing & Planting Tulips

Tulip Catalogues - Great Places to Find and Order Tulips

If you're looking for a great place to get tulip bulbs, a tulip catalogue might be your best bet. A tulip catalog helps you to find the tulips that you really want - and those that will look and grow best in your area.

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While your local nurseries or gardening stores might only carry a few different tulip varieties, with a tulip catalogue, you should be able to find almost any color of tulip that you can imagine. From black to white, and almost everything in between, there are regular solid color tulips, and "bizarre" tulips that have a mix of several different colors.

A tulip catalogue is also helpful for more than just finding the right tulip bulbs for you. Some tulip catalogues also offer tips and advice on how to cultivate the tulips that you order. Also, since there's generally a small write-up about all of the different tulip varieties, you should be able to find out the specific requirements of each cultivar you find.

A tulip catalogue is also useful if you want to get a better idea of what your tulips will look like in bloom. While most gardening stores offer small pictures of single cultivars they sell, a tulip catalogue often provides full color pictures of both single cultivars and tulip garden ideas.

Planting Tulip Bulbs

Tulips have acclimated to the conditions of their native country. They need the warmth of summer sun to ripen next year's flower buds and the cold of winter to rest for their lively emergence in spring. Although grown in Holland since the late 16th Century, tulips are native to the mountains of Turkey where the winters are cold, the spring rains are plentiful, and the rest of the year is well… hot!

Planting tulips is so easy that they are pretty much fool proof if you follow a few simple tips. Growing tulips is a favorite with gardeners all over the world because of their beauty and simplicity.

The whole purpose of a tulip bulb is to flower. In fact, in the center of each bulb, tiny leaves cradle a baby bud. The white, onion-like bulb that surrounds the bud stores all the nutrients that the bud needs to sprout and grow. Once planted, the only real help the tulip needs to grow is a generous drink of water and some soil to keep it moist.

When the air begins to get cooler, and the leaves start to fall from the trees, most people immediately think of storing the gardening supplies for the winter and getting ready to bundle up. But wait! Before packing away your gardening equipment, don't forget to pick up some tulip bulbs to plant in your garden.

Purchase your tulip bulbs close to the time that you are ready to plant them. Fall is the perfect time for planting tulip bulbs, ideally six weeks before the first frost. Once evening temperatures dip to 50°F, it's time to put them in the ground. In general, unplanted bulbs are difficult to keep over winter.

When you plant tulips be sure to choose a sunny location. However, since there are no leaves on the trees when the flowers bloom in the early spring so tree shade is usually not a major issue.

Fall is also the best time to nourish your tulips. Tulips prefer a bed of sandy, slightly alkaline soil with at least four hours of sunlight per day, but not direct sun. The addition of a little peat moss loosens compacted garden soil and provides the drainage tulips need. Before you begin planting bulbs, work nutrient rich compost through your soil. Although bulbs will grow in nearly any type of soil, the richer your soil is, the bigger your bulb lift will be next summer.

Plant bulbs two to three times the height of the bulb. For clustered displays, plant them closely together, but not touching. The root side of a bulb is the more rounded side; the pointed side is the part that will open and sprout foliage and flower. The most important thing to know about planting tulips is to plant them with the pointy side up. If you plant the tulips upside down, they may still bloom. However, this will place unnecessary stress on the bulbs.

Container Grown Tulips

Choose your container size according to the height of your cultivar and the density of your bulb planting. Plant bulbs in a container the same as you would garden-grown tulips, making sure there is at least ˝ inch of soil below the planting.

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Use fresh soil-based potting mixtures only. Peat based mixtures may burn the roots of your bulbs and soilless mixtures dry too quickly.

Plant tulips for indoor forcing in September and October. Place your planted pots in a cool garden spot (outdoors) and cover them with an inch of clean soil. When top growth is about ˝ -inch to 1-inch, transfer them indoors to a darkened area with a maximum temperature of 60F. Let the stems lengthen for about three weeks and return them to a lighted area with a slightly higher temperature.

When putting containers outdoors, protect them from severe frosts, particularly when combined with penetrating winds. Store your tulip pots in a cool area like your garage or wrap them with sacking or straw and cover them with plastic bags until the weather is more tulip-friendly.

It is essential to keep tulip containers sufficiently watered. Unlike garden grown plants, those in containers cannot seek for water deeper within their environment. Dry pots result in stunted and shriveled flower heads. Keeping tulips watered is just good tulip care!

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