How to Transplant & Care for Tulips
Tulips, which come from bulbs, bloom in the spring, among the first flowers to appear after winter frosts. After blooming, they die down by mid-summer. If your tulips are not doing well in their current spot, if they are experiencing a lack of sun or poorly-drained soil, you may want to transplant the bulbs. You cannot do this successfully until the foliage dies down completely.
- Moderately Easy
Things You’ll Need
- Organic compost
- Low-nitrogen fertilizer
- Start preparing the new site for the tulips in summer by digging 8 to 12 inches into the soil. Tulips prefer full sun and sandy, well-drained soil. During this time, watch as the foliage of your existing plants turns yellow and place stakes where they reside.
- Lay down 2 to 3 inches of organic compost at the new site; Mix it into the top 8 inches of soil. Lay down a low-nitrogen fertilizer—5-10-10 or 5-10-5—at this time as well. Follow the directions on the package for amounts. Mix it into the top 6 inches of soil.
- Dig up the tulip bulbs soon after Labor Day. Be careful not to injure the bulbs while digging. Place them on a tray and carry them to the new site.
- Plant the bulbs so that their tops are about 5 inches below soil level. Space multiple bulbs 4 to 6 inches apart. Water deeply and spread a layer of 2 to 3 inches of mulch over the bulbs to protect them over the winter.
- Water thoroughly during dry spells. Over-watering will cause the bulbs to rot. Most of the time, the rain will take care of the bulbs.
- Fertilize around blooming time with the same fertilizer you used at planting. Apply about 2 pounds per 100 square feet of land. Scratch the fertilizer into the top of the soil and avoid touching the leaves and flowers with it.
- Remove the flowers after they fade. This will divert energy from seed production to the bulb, so it can overwinter and grow again in spring. Cut off the foliage at the base of the plant after it yellows and dies back.