When Can Tulips Be Moved?

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Tulips are spring-blooming bulbs desirable for their large, showy flowers. They thrive in climates that have mild spring temperatures and locations that do not get too wet, as overly wet soil can cause the bulbs to rot. If your tulips are planted in an undesirable area, you might want to move them. Tulips can be dug up and planted in a new place, but you have to time it just right if you want them to bloom again.

Wait Until Blooming is Over

  • It’s important to wait until the tulips stop blooming before you move them. This usually happens in late spring. Moving tulips while they are in flower hurts their chances of blooming again the next year, according to North Dakota State University Extension. For this reason, never try to plant blooming, potted tulips.

Look at the Foliage

  • Watch the foliage. It will slowly turn yellow, then brown, and fall to the ground. During the process, nutrients are being moved from the foliage back to the bulb, which will allow it to produce a flower next spring. The best time to move tulips is when the foliage is completely dead and separates easily from the bulb, which usually occurs in midsummer, or any time after that, but before the ground freezes.

Moving the Tulips

  • Gently dig up the bulbs with a trowel, taking care not to damage the bulbs. Replant them immediately in their new location, or store them for the winter in a cool, dry place until you are ready to plant them.

Planting the Tulips

  • Plant tulips in the fall before the first freeze, or early in the spring for blooming the next spring. Plant them 6 inches deep, in well-draining soil and in a full-sun location. Sprinkle a little bonemeal in each hole to encourage root development. Then, cover the bulbs and water thoroughly. Finish with a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch, which will help the soil conserve moisture and prevent weed growth.

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