Many hybrid tulips only bloom well the first year. The second
year bloom might be tolerable, and in subsequent years, you may only
get foliage and no flowers. When you see spectacular tulip displays
at public gardens, it is because they are treated like annuals and
new bulbs planted every fall. Hardy spring-blooming bulbs that
naturalize well, such as daffodils, crocuses and grape hyacinths,
tolerate being forced better than tulips, and usually do well after
being planted out in the garden.
|Potted tulips forced into
bloom out of season
Moving Bulbs to the Garden
If you still would like to try planting your tulips in the garden,
just as a challenge, remove the spent flower stalks once they are
done blooming. Be careful not to damage the foliage in the process.
Just as we recommend allowing the foliage of spring-blooming bulbs
to die back on its own out in the garden, it is important that you
keep the foliage growing well as long as possible after your tulips
finish blooming. Foliage is responsible for producing the
carbohydrate reserves that nourish the bulbs through photosynthesis.
Removing or damaging the foliage prematurely reduces the amount of
stored carbohydrates, which results in bulbs that do not grow and
|Tulips do best outdoors when
planted as bulbs in the fall
Transition to Outdoors
Place the container in a cool, sunny spot and fertilize the tulips
with a water-soluble fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro, Peter's
20-20-20, fish emulsion or liquid sea kelp, according to label
directions. When the foliage begins to yellow and die down on its
own, do not try to hasten the process. Quit fertilizing and reduce
the amount of water you give them because they are not using as much
as they did when the foliage was in full growth. Once the foliage
has completely died back, move the pot into your garage or other
protected place where they will stay dry.
Near the end of September, remove the bulbs from the pot. Discard
any bulbs that are soft, and plant those that are firm and healthy
out into the garden. If they bloom again for you, great! If not, do
not be disappointed.
Bulbs deer don't eat
Photos of flower bulbs