Questions and Answers About Potted Tulips

Long-lasting potted tulips (and other bulbs such as potted daffodils, crocus and hyacinths) will last a lot longer if you follow these directions:

Buy potted tulips in as young a stage as you can find with buds just formed but not even fully emerged. Watching them grow and mature provides weeks of enjoyment. The flowers are just the grand finale!

tulip lilac wonder

Tulipa 'Willem van Oranje' Plastic pot simply inserted into wicker basket

Two Options For Decorative Pots

Potted bulbs can be enjoyed in their plastic or terra cotta nursery pot, but if you want to make them look great, double-pot them.

This means to insert the green plastic pot into a swanky designer pot. Fill the empty edges with bark chips and mulch the top with bark chips (if you have some lying around) to top off the display. Otherwise, wrap the pot in an attractive foil wrap to hide the plastic.

Repot Them If Necessary

You can repot your potted bulbs - no matter whether they are daffodils, tulips or hyacinths.

To do this, gently tap out the nursery pot contents (keeping the bulbs and soil intact to avoid root damage!) and repot in one of your own favorite containers.

The pot you choose has to have a drainage hole and a saucer to collect the excess water (no drainage hole means a shorter life for your swampy bulbs).

I note if you're double potting (much easier than repotting) the nice exterior pot doesn't have to have a drainage hole. You can pour out any excess water. Be aware that some types of clay containers weep and if placed on good furniture may leave water stains.

How Do I Make The Flowers Last Longer

The trick is to keep them cool (hot temperatures speed up the growth and flower cycle).

The second trick is to give them full sunlight (although this isn't strictly necessary).

The important one though is to water properly.

Soak and then do not water again until your finger comes away dry when you touch the soil.

tulip pinocchio

Tulipa 'Pinocchio' Decorative sleeves over plastic pots

Other Common Questions

My tulip blooms have finished - how do I get them to bloom again?

You don't. They're a one and done. Sorry.

My tulip bulbs have finished blooming. How do I keep them until fall so I can plant them outdoors?

You plant them outdoors as soon as you can in the spring, after all danger of frost in your region. Don't wait until fall. The odds of them blooming again are very poor but it never hurts to try.

My tulip flowers have gone brown - will they flower again?

Sorry, only one bloom per tulip per year

My potted tulip leaves are all brown and withering - what can I do?

It's likely you're over or underwatering. Compost them.

I live in the South - How Do I Get Tulips to Bloom?

You use pre-chilled bulbs and you treat them as annuals.

I live in the South and I want to plant my tulips outside and get them to bloom outdoors.

You can chill those bulbs (14-16 weeks of soil temperatures of 40F) and then plant outside for a single season of bloom. Tulips are not Southern plants.

Book cover spring bulbs

I divided my pot of tulips and the flowers all died - what do I do now?

Compost them.

I'm a begining gardener, I don't understand the instructions.

Here's the deal (the real deal). If you're a seriously beginner gardener, then let me suggest you enjoy the flowers. Enjoy the potted tulips as a harbinger of spring. Soak up those colors.

But then, toss them out when they're finished.

As you've seen, getting them to rebloom is a tricky thing and most gardeners don't bother. Compost the pot and plant and pick up another pot next year. Enjoy the blooms - recycle the pot and soil and you're good. Guilt-free. Put them in the garden or compost pile.

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