As the temperature drops it’s time to start thinking about planting one of our favourite flowers, the tulip. With its vast array of shapes, sizes, colours and textures it has always been prized for its beauty.
When to plant tulips?
From November onwards, you can continue planting your bulbs right up until Christmas as long as the ground is frost free. They will still flower perfectly well in the following spring as they only need a short season of growth.
Plant your bulbs when the temperature has dropped sufficiently; as it is warm weather that encourages the development of tulip blight (Botrytis Tulipae).You can spot this by looking out for bulb rot, grey/green lesions on the leaves and sometimes even spotted petals.
If your tulips develop blight it is necessary to remove and destroy them but remember not to add them to the compost heap. You can hinder its return by planting your bulbs in different places each year.
Choosing your bulbs
If you’re getting your bulbs from a garden centre choose those that are firm to touch, free of mould, cuts and bruises, still in there papery brown shell, larger than average and heavy for their size.
Some varieties bloom in early spring whilst others bloom slightly later. By choosing several types you can have tulips flowering for the entire season. Bulbs from Darwin or Triumph hybrids are ideal.
If you purchase your bulbs some time before you will be planting them be sure to store them in a cool place in a paper bag.
Plant each bulb at a depth at least twice its size. Choose somewhere in full sun with well prepared soil with fast drainage. Try and avoid an area where water tends to collect or is prone to late frosts.