The tulip is one of the most popular spring-time flowers here in Ireland. A bulbous plant, tulips are perennial and come from the genus Tulipa. Tulips thrive in countries with a long cool spring and love well drained soil. Here are our gardening tips on how to grow tulips in your garden this year.
Species tulips are miniature tulips that naturalise in your garden once you plant them you can leave them in the ground from then on, these tulips grow naturally on stoney mountainous soil so lots and lots of grit mixed into ground is the secret to success.
We suggest you fertilise your flowerbeds before commencing work. If you are digging a new bed for first-time planting, find a sunny area in your garden, dig down to a depth of around 30 cm and make sure you work the ground well.
When it comes to putting bulbs in the ground, we suggest you plant them around 3-5 cm deep, with the root portion pointing into the ground. Each tulip should have roughly 12 cm’ free space around it, allowing for good root growth.
If you live in a cold climate, cover the bulbs with mulch. This will help the tulips develop better, and will keep ground frosts at bay until the warmer weather comes later in the season. It’s very important that you remove the mulch when the weather warms up so the flowers can grow.
When your tulips start flowering, you can cut them for indoor use, or leave them to enjoy the company of the rest of your garden. If you do decide to cut them, make sure you leave the green stems alone as they will continue to feed the bulb ready for another year. When the remaining foliage dies, cut it away and leave the bulb to mature for another year – either in the ground – or in your potting shed.
Plant Your Stunning Spring Displays Now!
To get dense and flowery spring pot displays, you have to try layering bulbs in what the Dutch call a 'bulb lasagne', layering them up one on top of another. The largest and latest flowering bulbs go in deepest, moving to the smallest and earliest in the top layer. The emergent shoots of the lower layer bulbs just bend round anything they hit sitting over their heads and keep on growing.
Done like this, you need to plant the bulbs slightly further apart than you would in a pot with a single layer so 1 to 11/2 inches apart is the right sort of spacing. The first layer can go as deep as 11-12 inches deep. Then cover them over with a couple of inches of potting compost, before you place the next layer of bulbs.
These combinations involve a two-layer lasagne, but you can push it to three, and branch out from just tulips to crocus, narcissus or hyacinths. I’m experimenting with this triple-decker this year. For my deepest layer I’ve chosen the parrot tulip ‘Ballerina’ with the scent of freesias. It’s the last tulip to flower and invaluable for that. In the middle I’ve got a mid-season bulb, good old Tulipa ‘White Emperor’ and I’m also trying out a new variety to me called 'Orange Brilliant'. This has the same silvery-green handsome leaves but is a deeper, richer colour.