How to plant tulips in the fall?

Tulip bulbs don't care about the soil or the environment in which they thrive

Tulips are a well-known floral spring bulb that blooms early in the season, bringing beauty to gardens before most other flowering plants. Moreover, tulips are one of the most widely used flowers in the world. With each color, the flowers represent a variety of messages and meanings. In fact, planting tulips appears to be pretty straightforward. Do you know how to plant them, particularly in the fall? This article of will explain how to plant tulips in the fall

When to plant Tulips?

The best time to plant tulips is fall, 6 to 8 weeks before the first severe frost. The bulbs will take some time to settle in. Planting too soon might result in disease concerns.

Plant in September or October in cooler northern latitudes. Plant bulbs in December in warmer areas (or even later). As a result, many people are curious about how to plant tulips in the fall.

In addition, plant bulbs in late November or December in southern locations with moderate winters.

Your soil temperature is between 55 and 60 degrees at that time, and your nighttime temperature is between 40 and 50 degrees.

Tulips require chilling time before flowering.

The best time to plant tulips is fall, 6 to 8 weeks before the first severe frost
The best time to plant tulips is fall, 6 to 8 weeks before the first severe frost

Do you know about frost dates?

  • The average date of the final light freeze in the spring or the first light freeze in the fall is known as a frost date.
  • Frost dates are estimated using NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information data.

What are the best conditions to plant tulips?


The soil is well-drained, neutral to slightly acidic, fertile, dry, or sandy. Tulips hate wet surroundings. By adding organic material like peat, bark, or manure, you may improve the possibly damp soil.


Tulips require the sun to develop, but while they like basking in its rays all day, they may also thrive in areas with dappled shadow or dispersed sunshine. The bulbs still get enough sunlight for photosynthesis, but they don’t get as much of the intense afternoon sun that might harm the leaves. 


You should water tulips once after planting and then lightly during dry spells in the spring. You should not need to water your tulips often if they are planted in the ground and there is enough rain.


Temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for most Tulip types. Tulips do not like temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit or above 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Tulips can withstand temperatures exceeding 70 degrees, but their bloom will suffer.


Inside the greenhouse, humidity should not vary too much and should remain between 65 and 85 percent. Heating the greenhouse using hot air heaters is not suggested. When they turn them on and off, they cause significant fluctuations in humidity and temperature. This might result in flower and/or leaf issues.


Tulips may blossom year after year if they are fertilized properly. Tulips benefit from regular fertilizer before and during their blossoming period in the spring. Every two weeks, softly work a mostly organic fertilizer into the soil.

How to plant tulips in the fall?

Prepare to plant

  • Prepare

It’s time to plant your bulbs now that summer has faded into fall and the nights have grown cooler. The bulbs should be planted when the soil temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  • The next step is choosing suitable bulbs

Each bulb will produce one to four stems and flowers, depending on the type. Choose bulbs with a light brown papery skin, somewhat like an onion peel, that are firm to the touch. You should avoid bulbs that are dry, flaky or light in weight.

Choose bulbs with a light brown papery skin, somewhat like an onion peel, that are firm to the touch
Choose bulbs with a light brown papery skin, somewhat like an onion peel, that are firm to the touch
  • Decide where to plant the bulbs

Tulips thrive in sunny or gently shaded locations that aren’t very moist.

Plant tulips

  • Dig holes for the bulbs

To keep squirrels and other animals from locating and eating tulip bulbs, bury them approximately 6 inches (15.2 cm) to 8 inches (20.3 cm) deep.

Dig holes for the bulbs
Dig holes for the bulbs
  • Plant the tulip bulbs

If you put them in the holes with the sharp side up, they will try to grow downward. Refill the holes with dirt and pack it down with your hands, being careful not to tip the bulbs in the wrong way.

Plant the tulip bulbs
Plant the tulip bulbs
  • Lightly water the bulbs

Care for Tulips

Keep the moisture level the same and continue to change the water to keep the fresh tulips. Let the leaves die naturally and then unearth the bulbs about 6 weeks after flowering. If you want to grow perennial tulips, use a balanced fertilizer when planting them in the fall.

It is the basic method for planting tulips in the fall. Depending on where you want them, there will be further specific steps. Many of us wish we had planted more tulips last autumn when they bloom in the spring. Tulips follow the same concept as other perennials: the optimal time to dig, divide, or plant is during the season opposite the perennial’s bloom time, which is why we split and plant tulips in the fall.

If you want to grow perennial tulips, use a balanced fertilizer when planting them in the fall
If you want to grow perennial tulips, use a balanced fertilizer when planting them in the fall

The best types of Tulips to plant in the fall

Choosing the most beautiful tulips to plant can be challenging. Let’s explore the best tulips to plant in the fall.


These traditional tulip flowers bloom with a deep purple hue that is breathtaking, especially when planted with orange- or yellow-flowered spring-blooming plants. Therefore, Negrita is an excellent cut flower that looks best in a group or with other Tulips that complement its hues, such as the yellow Golden Parade or salmon Mango Charm.

Full light and well-drained soil are ideal growing conditions.

Size: about 16 inches

Negrita Tulips
Negrita Tulips

Prinses Irene

In a typical tulip form, the blooms have orange petals with bright purple patterns. It’s also a great early spring bulb to force into bloom. 


Great combination of contrasting colors. The blossom has a yellow base with a flaming white upper part. 

Early Spring will provide you a delicate diversity.

Height: about 18 Inches

Sweetheart Tulips
Sweetheart Tulips


Large white flowers with strong purple streaks characterize the successful hybrid ‘Zurel.’ It has robust, thick stems that are ideal for making magnificent cut flower bouquets in the spring.


‘Unicum’ is a dramatic spring tulip with vibrant red-orange petals and lovely cream-striped foliage. This is one of the greatest perennial tulips, coming back year after year and bearing several flowers per stem.


The shape of the popular tulip Menton is enhanced with apricot petals with a wide peach edge. Menton has tall and sturdy stems. 

Height: about 24 Inches

Menton Tulips
Menton Tulips


The tulip species Fusilier develops up to four red-orange blossoms per stem. Plant these low-growing bulbs in a rock garden, along a walkway, or at the front of a flower bed to give vibrant spring color.

Estella Rijnveld

Fabulous and frilly The parrot tulip ‘Estella Rijnveld’ has striking red and white blossoms with fringed and twisted petals.

Black Parrot

Tulip ‘Black Parrot’: Swirls of burgundy, contrasting black and white decorate the gathered petals of this very special and showy tulip.


Finally, start the season off right with ‘Montreux,’ an early-blooming tulip variety with double ivory-yellow blossoms. Double hybrid tulips resemble peonies and provide a delicate, romantic touch to the yard.

Montreux Tulips
Montreux Tulips

Protecting Tulip bulbs for the best spring bloom

Having figured out how to plant tulips in the fall, we will discover the ways to protect tulip bulbs. 

Install a tall fence

Tulips create a salad bar for deer in a landscape. A fence is the most effective deer deterrent. A tall fence can also keep rabbits away from tulips if the slats aren’t too wide apart, allowing them to sneak between them.

Install a short fence or use mesh

A fence that is at least 3 feet tall and 10-12 inches below ground (to prevent groundhogs from digging under the fence) is an excellent deterrent for groundhogs, chipmunks, and other burrowing creatures.

Wide wire mesh, such as chicken wire, is an excellent barrier for squirrels and mice for protecting tulip bulbs.

Install a short fence or use mesh for your Tulips
Install a short fence or use mesh for your Tulips

Plant deeply and clean up

Some gardeners believe that planting tulip bulbs a little deeper increases hardiness and makes it more difficult for digging pests to discover them.

Protect Tulip bulbs in pots

Place it somewhere safe until the bulbs grow in the spring, such as inside a garage or near a home foundation.

Plant in well-drained soil

To improve drainage, mix compost with coarse builder’s sand (not playground sand). 

Q & A

What fertilizer is best for tulips?

The optimum tulip bulb fertilizer will have a 9-9-6 nutritional ratio. You should also use a delayed – release fertilizer while fertilizing tulips. 

Furthermore, there are so many advantages of using organic fertilizers and others. 

  • Organically fertilize tulips first: Not only long-term nutrient supply to your tulips through constant decomposition through micro-organisms but also promotes active life on the ground.
  • Tulips with mineral fertilizer: the nutrients are pure and therefore directly accessible by the plant.
  • Using homemade medicines: coffee grounds, wood ash,… Besides a large amount of nitrogen, coffee grounds also contain phosphorus and potassium. And using wood ash also helps to control fungal diseases and decay in the soil.

How late can I plant tulips?

If you forgot to plant your bulbs in the fall/early winter and have a bunch of tulips or daffodils on hand in January or February, plant them and hope for the best.

However, you should:

  • Clean the snow and loosen the ground, if possible.
  • If the soil is completely frozen, apply the fertilizer sparingly and on a wider beach than usual.
  • Put the bulbs onto the ground. Do not push them down, as this will damage the base of the bulb, where the roots form.

Initially, it can be hard to figure out how to plant tulips in the fall. However, if you choose the right method and give it the appropriate care, you can ensure a bright display each spring.

Related posts:
When do tulips bloom?
10 best types of Tulips growing from bulbs for your pretty garden
How to take care of Tulips in a vase?
What is tulips growing zone? What is the best time to plant tulips for successful blooming?
How to grow Tulips indoors?


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