When do tulips bloom?

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Tulips take little effort to plant and offer a bounty of beauty
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Wondering about when do tulips bloom coincides with thoughts of spring

Look into the mesmerizing center of a tulip. What you see is an exquisite work of art. What makes the petals of some tulips appear to be a riot of curly mayhem while other tulips resemble a smooth, cup-shaped goblet? What determines the answers to questions such as when do tulips bloom? Evolution might explain some things. Mother Nature could elaborate. Experts such as the Dutch, who have been concocting hybrid tulips for centuries, can take credit. Hybrids are engineered varieties of tulips that combine a little of this from one type of tulip and a little of that from another to produce something never before seen in the market place. Science helps greatly in producing the nearly 6,000 tulip varieties available now. Popular today are collections of spring bulbs—tulip, daffodil, crocus and hyacinth bulbs—that can be found in grouped assortments shipped as starter kits for folks who want a spectacular sampler. However, when it comes to the question—when do tulips bloom—the answer may vary slightly depending upon a garden’s location, local rainfall, climate, soil composition and the toll taken by bulb busters such as chipmunks, squirrels, deer and other varmints that like to wrap their two lips around your tulips.

Tulip planting precedes winter weather

Most tulips are planted after the autumn season rolls into town. The planting of tulip bulbs in the fall takes place after the soil temperature—at a depth of six inches—drops to 60 degrees Fahrenheit or less. A look at any horticultural planting guide will show when the first hard frost in your area is expected. But when do tulips bloom? It depends upon where you live and how cold the winters become there. Specifics also are found in bulb catalogs—publications rich in horticulture facts.

In general, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, the fall is when bulbs go under the ground. Wintertime sees them gaining strength to push upward through the soil. Folks who just can’t wait to see tulip bulbs bloom in the spring often turn to the propagation of other easy-to-grow plants—tropical plants—that do well indoors. An amazing array of succulents, cacti, orchids and other tropical plants is available all year. They are exotic beauties and caring for tropical plants takes little effort. But what about tulips? When do tulips bloom? They spring forth—in the spring.

Tulips bloom at different rates

Tulip bulbs should be planted approximately six weeks to eight weeks before the first hard frost. Consult with experts at a garden center or a reliable online source to ensure you have tulip varieties that are a mix of early bloomers, mid-spring bloomers and bloomers that burst forth in the late spring. A continuous floral show—throughout the spring—will be your reward.

When do tulips bloom? The early birds may show their blooms as April arrives. Later varieties follow in May and June. By purchasing some of each, a garden can be filled with color throughout a longer period than is offered by just one variety. Some of the most reliable bloomers are easy to obtain by mail or at the local garden shop. The planting location is a factor, too, for tulips planted in sheltered areas will bloom earlier than those planted elsewhere.

Early varieties: White Emperor, Orange Emperor, Red Emperor, Red Riding Hood, Salute, Monte Carlo, etc.

Mid-season bloomers: Triumph, Mona Lisa, Mendels, Darwin Hybrids, Peony Tulip, Gregii Tulips, etc.

Late-season varieties: Parrot Tulips, Kingsblood, Dreamland, Queen of Night Black Tulips, Menton, etc.

Tulip planting tips and techniques

Size counts when it comes to tulip bulbs. The bulb is where the plant stores the energy needed to produce its flower and a big bulb equals a big flower. Plant level clusters of five or six bulbs to produce a patch of gorgeous color rather than a single bloom here and there.

Depth counts when planting tulips. Plant tulip bulbs with the pointed end on top and plant to a depth that ensures about four inches of soil will be between the tip of the bulb and ground level. If the soil is rather sandy, plant a couple inches deeper.

Moisture counts when getting tulips off to a good start. The planting is finished off with a good sprinkling of water, so that the bulbs are well drenched. Then, refrain from any more watering until shoots appear. Straw mulch may be used as protection in snowy areas. Final step: wait for spring.

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