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How To Plant Tulips This Fall For A Brilliant Spring Blooming Display!

If you are looking for a great way to add early spring color to your landscape, then planting tulips this fall should be a top priority!

There is nothing quite like seeing the brilliant bloom of a tulip after a long, dreary winter.

The bright colors bursting forth from long green stems are one of the first signs that summer is on it’s way. And that winter will soon be just a distant memory!

Tulips, like this Triumph variety, work wonders to brighten up the early spring landscape.

Planting and maintaining your own beautiful display of tulips couldn’t be easier.

In fact, with just a little fall prep and planting, you can have your landscape in full bloom next spring.

Below is a quick tutorial for when and how to plant tulips, along with a few great varieties to try out his fall.

How To Plant Tulips This Fall

When To Plant

Tulips need to be planted four to six weeks before the first hard freeze.

The key is to plant them into the cooler fall soil with just enough time to adjust before the ground freezes.

how to plant tulip bulbs
Tulips need to be planted in the cooler fall weather, 4 to 6 weeks before a hard frost.

Depending on the region you live in, that can be anywhere from early September to late December.

For northern climates, planting is best completed in mid-September through October. And for warmer southern and southwestern climates, November through December is a good time for planting.

How To Plant Tulips In The Fall

Tulips bulbs are available in a wide variety of sizes. And planting depths and holes vary slightly with the type of bulb you choose.

As a good rule of thumb, holes should be dug to a depth of 3 to 4 times the width of the bulb. A once inch wide bulb should therefore be planted at a depth of around 3 to 4 inches.

planting depth of tulip bulbs
A bulb planter, or small hand trowel both work well for planting tulips.

And once that hole is dug, it needs to be filled with a little power for bigger and better blooms the following spring.

Once dug, add compost, worm castings, or a high-quality potting soil mix to the bottom of the hole.

Next, plant the bulb down into the compost, pushing the bulb to the bottom of the hole.

This surrounds the bulbs a nutrient-filled casing. One that will help provide adequate resources when it is time to bloom.

To finish planting, fill the rest of the hole with the remaining soil. Next, water in to help the soil settle in around the bulb.

Complete with a light 2″ coating of straw or shredded hardwood mulch on top. The mulch helps insulate the soil through winter, and help conserve moisture for the bulb.


When it comes to spacing tulip bulbs, it really depends on the type of display you are trying to create.

Tulips perform well and look best when planted in clusters.

planting and spacing tulips

Small clusters add a touch of color all over the landscape, while a large planting of bulbs spaced just a few inches apart will create a massive spring patch of color.

No matter what, space bulbs with a minimum of 2″ between bulbs to allow for adequate resources from the soil.

Now that you know when and how to plant – check these two unique varieties that can make a great addition to your spring tulip display.

Triumph Tulips

This single-cupped, large-bulb tulip (pictured at the beginning of the article) grows up to 2′ tall. They are the perfect choice for creating a spring color display with big impact!

Triumph tulips come in a variety of colors including white, red, purple, pink and bi-colored. To plant, place bulbs 6″ deep in the soil and space 4″ inches apart. The bulbs are hardy in zones 3 to 8. Product Link : Triumph Tulips

Rembrandt Tulips

If you are looking for a unique tulip – the Rembrandt is an excellent choice! These beautiful tulips come are streaked with colors that almost seem to bleed down the bloom.

Whether using Rembrandt’s with red streaks on white, or red streaks on yellow, they are simply stunning to behold.

Tulips grow on 12 to 18″ stems. Plant 4 to 6″ deep, and space 4 to 6″ apart for best results. Product Link : Rembrandt Tulips

For more great fall bulb planting advice, check out How To Create Gorgeous Spring Color With Fall Bulbs

This Is My Garden is a website dedicated to spreading the love and knowledge of gardening around the world. We publish two new garden articles each week. This article may contain affiliate links.

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