Tulips

Asked March 8, 2020, 4:12 PM EDT

I potted some tulips in a large container last fall and kept it in the garage all winter. Plants are now about 5 inches high. I’m actually kind of surprised they grew. After they bloom can I reuse the bulbs and if so how do care for them?

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for writing.
Tulips are somewhat difficult to work with. The more elaborate (and beautiful) the hybrid, the less likely to bloom multiple seasons.

Here is what I do
I fertilize with a phosphorus based fertilizer such as bone meal.
I cut the stems as soon as the flower is gone--you must stop the plant from spending energy on seeds,
I keep the plant happy until the last leaf dies to the ground. Do not cut off leaves because they are feeding the bulb.
In truth, I regard them as annuals and second blooms as a bonus. The reblooming rate is so inconsistent that the masses of color do not persist year to year.

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/tulips-after-bloom-45047.html
Here is some general information
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/bulbs/tulips/tulips-bloom-every-year.htm
https://extension.umn.edu/how/planting-bulbs-tubers-and-rhizomes#spring-care-for-hardy-bulbs-1402461
Finally, consider Daffodils or Jonquils, some species of which, are more reliable for naturalizing.
I hope this helps.