Tulips masterclass: best expert content

Tulip 'Florist's Treat Mixed' from T&M

Tulips come in a huge array of varieties and make excellent cut flowers
Copyright: Visions BV, Netherlads

Planting tulip bulbs is a fantastic way to introduce colour to your spring garden. Ideal for filling pots and containers, they can also be planted in the ground or added to borders where they’re a real post-winter mood lifter. To help you create a spectacular display, we’ve found a wealth of experienced gardeners who’ve shared their tried-and-tested knowledge. If you want to grow magnificent tulips, here are some of the best articles, Instagram posts and videos to bookmark for reference. 

When you’re ready to pre-order your tulip bulbs, visit our online store for inspiration. We have blooms to suit every taste, from blousy and luminous hybrids to more delicate species tulips that are perfect for naturalising.

Thompson & Morgan blog

Tulip ‘Angelique’ from T&M

Tulip ‘Angelique’ produces an exquisite fragrance
Image: Tulip ‘Angelique’ from T&M

Did you know that some tulips are scented? The top three perfumed blooms chosen by the Thompson & Morgan blog team are ‘Angelique’, ‘Double Sugar’ and ‘Blenda Flame’. In this article you’ll also find our experts’ pick of the best tulips for cutting, best miniature varieties, and three of their all time favourite tulip blooms. And if you want a comprehensive bulb planting guide, here’s everything you need to know about correct planting depths, optimum positions and the best time to plant.

Alexandra – The Middlesized Garden

Bronze fennel with Queen of the Night Tulips

Bronze fennel and tulip ‘Queen of the Night’ pair well
Image: @the_middlesized_garden_blog

“‘Queen of [the] Night’ can look almost black against some backgrounds, but quite purple against others,” says Alexandra over at The Middlesized Garden. This tulip variety is one of her favourites because it goes so well with many other garden plants. Visit her full post to see some unusual pairings that show tulip ‘Queen of the Night’ off to excellent advantage. “The Queen looks wonderful with everything,” she says!

Johanna Bobbio

Woman showing planting container in tulip

Choose a container that will show your tulips off
Image: Johanna Bobbio

Plant your container tulip bulbs closer together than you would in the ground, instructs YouTuber Johanna Bobbio. This gives a denser display when they flower in spring. Make sure you have at least eight centimetres of soil under your bulbs to encourage a good root system too, she adds. For more of Johanna’s excellent tips, watch her video on planting tulips in pots.


Yellow tulips in containers

Protect newly planted tulip bulbs until the flowers emerge
Image: Shutterstock

Are you having problems with mysteriously dug-up tulip bulbs? Dissuade the squirrels with a layer of chilli flakes like quick-thinking Instagrammer @thelittlevintagegarden. “Sorry squirrels but there really are more tasty treats in my garden other than tulips,” she says!


Pink tulips in lawn

Tulips in the grass introduce jewel tones amid the green
Image: ANGHI/Shutterstock

Have a go at naturalising your tulips in the lawn like Instagrammer @english_town_garden. “It’s taken a few years but feels quite full and long-lasting now,” they say. Just make sure you go for small tulip varieties, not least because they’re a little more resilient to trampling! Take a look at their beautiful images of naturalised tulips for inspiration.

Alan – Down to Earth

Tulipa greigii 'Red Riding Hood' from T&M

Species tulips like Tulipa greigii are best for naturalising in grass
Image: Tulipa greigii ‘Red Riding Hood’ from T&M

Go for tulip varieties in the kaufmanniana and greigii groups for naturalising, says Alan at his popular blog Down to Earth. They are less hybridised which helps encourage repeat flowering, he explains. Find out more about naturalising spring bulbs in his interesting article.


Purple and yellow tulip

Species tulips are usually shorter than regular hybrids
Image: @lemon_housegarden

Species tulips are really reliable for repeat flowering, says Instagrammer Katherine at her page @lemon_housegarden. “Give them a sunny, well drained spot and they will flower year after year and will spread as well,” she says. Read her full post to find out the best place to plant your species tulips for an impressive display.


Open blooms of Tulip 'Angelique'

Some varieties like Tulip ‘Angelique’ produce large, open flower heads
Image: @oldhouseintheshires

Save pictures of your favourite tulips like Instagrammer Sophie over at Old House in the Shires. “It’s a great way to remember which ones I have enjoyed seeing,” she says. Then, when it’s time to place next year’s bulb order, you’ll have a handy ‘list’ to refer to. Tulip ‘Angelique’ (pictured above) is number one for Sophie.

John – Pyracantha

Tulip bulbs in containers

Tulip offsets can be stored and replanted in late autumn
Image: Shutterstock/Jullex51

You can propagate tulips through division, says John from Pyracantha. Just “separate any offsets when you lift your bulbs to store them and then replant the offsets approximately 20cm deep,” he says. It takes a couple of years for the new bulbs to flower properly but it’s a good long-term strategy, he adds. Read John’s information-packed article for helpful tips on storing tulip bulbs.

Balconia Garden

Lifting tulip bulbs after planting

Lift and store tulip bulbs to make space in your pots
Image: Balconia Garden

Have your container-grown tulips finished blooming? If so, lift the bulbs from their pots to make space for summer crops like YouTuber Balconia Garden. Just make sure you deadhead and dry your bulbs, she says. This small-space gardener uses every inch of her productive balcony garden. Watch her video to see how she stores her tulip bulbs through the summer months for replanting in autumn.

The Enthusiastic Gardener

Female flowers of tulips

The female part of the tulip flower is left as a seed head after flowering
Image: The Enthusiastic Gardener

It’s important to allow all the foliage from your tulip bulbs to die back naturally, says YouTuber Janette over at her YouTube channel The Enthusiastic Gardener. This allows energy to return to the bulb to fuel it for next year, and also encourages it to multiply underground during the summer. Remember to first remove the seed head after the petals fall, she says. Watch Janette’s full video to see her fascinating explanation.

Plant Reviews UK

Tulip seedheads with seeds against blue background

Tulip seed heads start to split open when the seeds are ready to disperse
Image: Krotova Iryna/Shutterstock

Fancy having a go at collecting your own tulip seeds? Check out this video from YouTube channel Plant Reviews UK. It may take up to seven years to get reliable flowering from your seed-grown tulips, he says, but it’s worth the wait. You might even create a brand new tulip! Watch his in-depth video to learn how to check if your home-collected seeds are viable.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of tulip-growing content, and look forward to seeing the results over on social media. Check out our spring bulb hub page for more information and advice. 

Published at Tue, 26 Jul 2022 09:34:39 -0400

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