Tulips are bright, decorative flowers, and come in hundreds of cultivars. They feature many colors, patterns, sizes and blooming schedules, depending on cultivar, but always follow the same basic calendar. These perennial bulbs last for many years with the right year-round care, and may bloom through the summer.
Tulips are perennial flowers, and grow year after year from one set of bulbs. They can last for decades, but rot and die if they receive too much water or fertilizer during their dormant period. Tulips are hardy enough to grow throughout the country.
Tulips begin their root growth in fall and winter for spring sprouting and blooming. Bloom time depends on cultivar, with early, mid-season and late varieties, but always ranges from early spring to midsummer. Each tulip bulb blooms only once a year.
When a tulip bulb finishes its yearly bloom, the flowers and foliage yellow and die back. Tulip bulbs enter dormancy at this time, and require undisturbed rest to survive. Many gardeners dig up and store their tulip bulbs during dormancy to keep them safe. Digging also means clearing the beds for annual plantings and continued color in the garden.
Tulips must receive the right care at planting to grow and bloom again the next year. These bulbs require cold resting periods after planting and do best with mid-fall starts. Find sites that get full sunshine, and plant the bulbs around the first frost of the year. Amend the soil with organic compost and bone meal or bulb fertilizer at planting to encourage healthy rooting. Leave the bulbs for the winter, for rooting and establishment.