Planting Tulips: Make Sure You Have the Right Soil

When you are planting tulips for next spring's tulip garden, don't make the same mistake that I did last year. Making a mistake at planting time in the fall is costly. If you make this mistake, you may as well as buy tulips next spring instead of cutting fresh ones for your own tulip bouquet.

Are you sure that you are putting tulip bulbs in the best soil to grow? If you have doubts about growing tulips as you plan your spring garden, consider these gardening tips.

Let me explain. I love tulips, even though the flower stage is only two to three weeks long from mid-March to late May. Last fall, I planted about 60 purple tulip bulbs in my backyard. I eagerly waited for Spring to come so I could savor those beautiful flowers. The winter was long and cold with more snow falls than in previous years. So, I was ready for Spring to come. But I was surprised. Of the 60 flower bulbs I planted, only one tulip flower grew and blossomed. I couldn't figure it out. Later in the Spring, I planted my impatiens. When I went to dig up my tulip bulbs, I discovered that they were soft and mushy - like pickled onions.

The wet soil was so saturated that the bulbs became sponges, not flowers! Then, I realized that the clay layer under the top soil caused the problem. The clay layer did not let the water drain so my tulip bulbs were sitting in an underground swimming pool!

Tulips grow best in soil that drains best. The origin of tulips is in Turkey, where the soil is very sandy and porous. When traders began to bring the bulbs to plant tulips in Holland, the sandy soil was just right and many fields became like one flower garden after another.

Before you start planning your tulip garden, make sure to dig down about two feet or more to see what the underlying soil is like. If you have a layer of clay near the surface, dig deeper and replace that clay with rich dark top soil. You can buy a 30 pound bag of dirt from a home improvement center for less than two dollars.

So when you plant tulips, check the soil. Porous dirt is good dirt dirt. And be sure that before your tulip bulbs are secure planted, you know the rest of the planting secrets for the best tulip garden design that will please you next Spring.


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