Growing tulips might seem daunting but with enough care and attention you’ll be able to grow these beauties with ease, year after year…

Before you start planting your tulips, it’s important to remember that tulips thrive in cool soil, so planting only when temperatures have dropped is essential. Want to know when to plant tulips in South Africa? May is the best time to plant tulips in our climate, but treated tulips should be planted in early June.

Step by step tulip growing tips

  • Choosing where to plant tulips is important. Don’t plant them near heat reflecting surfaces, like walls and remember that they prefer a sunny spot. Either half day or full day sun will do.
  • Mulching is a must; tulips love heat and moisture (however, don’t over water them!)
  • After planting, tulips should be deep-watered every four days.
  • Plant tulips in groups of 10 to 20, this will ensure a striking display when they come into bloom.
  • Tulips do well in containers, select a large pot with drainage holes and line the base with some gravel.
  • When planting tulip bulbs, remember that a bulb should be planted three times its own length below the soil, with the heaviest part of the bulb facing downward. So the soil above the bulb will measure twice its length.
  • Soil drainage is extremely important, as tulip bulbs will rot in wet soil. Soil should also be neutral to slightly acidic, fertile, and dry or sandy.

Read more: 8 Indigenous plants that attract birds to your garden

How to care for tulips after they flower

  • After flowering, the plant’s leaves should be left to continue to grow, as this will feed the bulb.
  • The flower stalks can however be removed, and when the leaves die back and turn yellow simply pull them from the ground.
  • Bulbs should be left to dry during dormancy, don’t water them and make sure they’re well ventilated if you remove them from the soil.

How to store tulip bulbs and ensure new growth next season

  • If you’re removing the bulbs from the ground and storing them, cut off any remaining foliage and clean them with a paper towel.
  • Dry the tulip bulbs, uncovered, in a cool, dry spot for at least two days. Any bulbs that have discoloured or rotted during this time should be thrown away.
  • Wrap the bulbs in newspaper and place them in a mesh bag.
  • Store them in a dark, dry place (like a storage cupboard or garage) for up to 12 months.
  • Bulbs can also be stored in the fridge if the outside temperature is very hot. Don’t store them with fruit or veggies as the gasses released could kill the tulip flower.
  • They’ll be ready to plant again next season.