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
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.
Here is some general information
Finally, consider Daffodils or Jonquils, some species of which, are more reliable for naturalizing.
I hope this helps.