How to Create Your Own Tulip Garden

How to Create Your Own Tulip Garden

Creating Your Own Tulip Garden

If you love tulips and can’t get enough of them, you should consider planting a tulip garden. These spring-blooming bulbs can brighten up even the darkest of spring gardens. If you have the right soil, enough sun, and the desire to plant tons of bulbs, this is a great idea for your garden!

History of Tulip Gardens

The Netherlands is known for being the tulip capital of the world, but not everyone knows the History...

In the late 1500’s the botanist Carolus Clusius brought some bulbs back to the Netherlands from his travels. At that time, his tulip garden wasn’t for ornamental purposes, but for scientific ones. Visitors began to notice the beautiful, foreign flowers and inquired about them. But the covetous Carolus Clusius refused to share, give away or sell any of the flowers in his tulip garden. He wanted to keep them all for himself and to ‘study.’

During a visit by some would-be customers, Carolus Clusius, again, refused to part with any of his tulips. In frustration, the guests uprooted and stole a portion of his collection. From that moment on, the Dutch have been propagating and selling tulips both at home and abroad.

Because they were such prized flowers, their worth dramatically increased. In the 17th century, tulips became the most valuable flower in the world. Each could sell for an outrageous price, close to a general worker's average salary (for a single bulb)!

Nowadays, tulips are not so expensive; lucky for us. Still, the Dutch are the number one tulip producer in the world. They produce over 3 billion (yes, billion) bulbs yearly. Their expansive tulip gardens are visited by millions of visitors each year.

a windmill in the middle of a field of flowers

Native Habitat of Tulips

Before they made their way to the Netherlands, tulips were native to the mountainous region in central Asia. They grow naturally in the Tien-Shan and Pamir Alai Mountain Ranges, specifically. They do best in cooler climates and are averse to extreme heat. Tulips bloom in the spring for only three to seven days.

How Many Varieties of Tulips are there?

There are almost too many kinds of tulips to count. There are at least 23 groups, over 150 species, and more than 3000. Tulips come in all shades and colors except true blue.

When to Plant Tulips

The best times to plant tulips are in fall or spring.

Fall is the ideal time to plant them so they can have a stratified period of dormancy. Tulips need a period of cold weather followed by warmth to break dormancy and grow. Dormancy gives tulips a rest period.

Tulips can be planted in early spring, but it may be hard to break ground at this time. Bulls should not be planted in summer or winter.

Where to Plant a Tulip Garden

Zones

The best places for tulip gardens will be in zones three through eight. Most tulips are perennials in zones three to eight. They are perennials in other colder or hotter zones but are considered annuals there. In hot climates, tulips should be provided with additional moisture and be given some shade throughout the day.

Soil Requirements

Tulip garden soil should be full of very organic material. Tulips, like most bulbs, cannot be planted in excess moisture or clay. They thrive in rich, organic, free-draining soils. Good drainage is key and cannot be overemphasized.

Sun Requirements

Unless you live in a very hot climate, plant your tulips in full sun. A tulip garden will need over six hours of daily sun to reach its potential. Otherwise, tulip growth will be stunted.

Picking the Best Location

The best place for a tulip garden is a spot that will receive full sun. If it’s on a slope, it should be at the top or middle. Water can collect at the bottom of a slope. So, if you put a tulip garden there, the bulbs will be susceptible to rot.

A tulip garden should not be planted near woodlands, ideally. There, they may be susceptible to wildlife damage.

Step-by-Step How to Grow Tulip Garden

Once you have the ideal planting location and have bought your tulip bulbs, then you can plant them. Because planting bulbs is an easy task, it can be fun to do with the children in your life. Kids are often interested in nature and flowers.

Here's a basic planting guide for tulips:

  • For a natural look, grab a handful of bulbs and toss them. Plant them where they land
  • For a formal look, plant the tulips in rows. Know that is possible to have a bulb or two fail, so it is wise to have some back-ups on hand
  1. Dig a hole 2½ times as deep as the bulb is wide
  2. Space the bulbs between 4 and 8 inches apart
  3. Cover with soil and water thoroughly

Tulip Garden Aftercare

  • Let the leaves die back so the energy can return to the roots
  • Dig up every few years and divide if flowers dwindle in size
  • Tulips-like periods of dryness

Protection from Pests

You may love tulips, but so do mice, voles, and other rodents. They feed on bulbs, especially in the winter months when food is sparse. If your plants are highly susceptible to rodent damage, there are a few preventative options.

Rabbits

To protect from rabbits, lay down a layer of chicken wire on top of the soil. Add more soil and/or mulch on top to cover the wire. The tulips will be able to grow up through the wire, but animals won’t be able to dig them up.

Burrowing Rodents

If you don’t mind some extra work, consider hardware cloth or welded wire (smaller than chicken wire). You can create little cages for the tulips so the burrowing rodents cannot eat them. The wire should be wide enough for the roots and leaves to grow through but not large enough to let the rodents in.

Tulips for Sale Online

Now that you know the history of tulips and how to grow them, you can now order some (if you haven’t already)! Here at Wholesale Nursery Co., we offer three great options including yellow and purple tulips and a mixed option

Yellow Tulips

These yellow tulips make an excellent gift for someone you love (or yourself)! They can be planted in fall and will bloom in spring. Their vibrant yellow color will bring brightness to any garden, especially a tulip garden!

Zones: 6 to 8
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: 12 inches or more
Water: Average
Best for tulip gardens, in front of borders, and in containers.

Purple Tulips

The purple triumph tulip is a must-have for any tulip gardener. Its striking petals have gentle ripples upon closer inspection. They can tolerate a range of soils, but will struggle in heavy clays and boggy soils. It is easy to grow and also makes an excellent gift.

Zones: 6 to 8
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: 12 inches or more
Water: Average
Best for tulip gardens, in front of borders, and in containers.

Tulip Mixed Pack (10 bulbs)

If you don't want to choose just one kind of tulip, then this is the option for you! The mixed bag comes with multiple colors of tulips. If you want to share them or plant them all in your tulip garden, you can't go wrong with this option.

Zones: 6 to 9
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: 12 inches or more
Water: Average
Best for tulip gardens, in front of borders, and in containers.

Check out the Tulip Mixed Bag product page here

Tulips are a great addition to any garden that has the right conditions to grow them. Making a tulip garden is a great way to showcase the beauty of this flower. Please let up know if you have any tulip-related questions! That's what we're here for.

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