Tulips should be planted as per the following guidelines in the U.S. Between September and early October in USDA Climate Hardiness Zones 4 and 5; October to early November in zones 6 and 7; November to early December in zones 8 and 9; and late December to early January in zone 10.
If you live in zone 8, 9 or 10, you must refrigerate the tulip bulbs for at least 6 to 8 weeks, before planting, by placing the bulbs in a paper bag. Remember to keep this bag away from ripening fruits in the fridge, because fruits give out ethylene gas which is dangerous for the tulip bulbs and will kill the flower bud inside the bulb.
When you are ready to plant the bulbs, choose an area where the soil has good drainage. Remember deep planting the bulbs will not only keep them cooler, but will also be beneficial in mild-winter areas.
Space out your tulip bulbs in such a way that you will get a lovely display when they bloom. Use 250 bulbs per 50 square feet, or go with 5 tulips per square foot. When you are planting, so that you will get a group display, make sure there is perfect symmetry by planting at the same depth. This will ensure that all the bulbs will blooms at the same time. Use a shovel to excavate the soil and create a level planting base, and then set the bulbs down on the bed, fertilize, and cover up with the excavated soil.
If you are wondering how deep you should plant your tulips, remember this simple rule. Plant your tulip bulbs 6 inches deep so that there is 4 inches of soil covering the bulb. If your garden soil is sandy, or if you have a pest problem, then plant the tulip bulb 8 inches deep.
For optimum grown, use a low-nitrogen granular fertilizer that has been specially made for bulbs.
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