Fall is the perfect time to be planting tulip bulbs---October and onwards, before the ground freezes, is what you're aiming for. If you've received your tulip bulbs from me and aren't ready to plant yet, just store them in a cool and dry area with good circulation until you are ready to plant.
Planting For Landscape
- The general rule of thumb for tulips is to plant them 3 times the depth as they are tall, so about 6"-8", depending on the size of your bulb
- Choose a well-draining spot (tulip bulbs will rot if left in very wet areas) with at least 6 hours of sunlight
- Dig a hole or use a bulb digger and place your tulip bulb flat side down, pointy side up; you can also plant in clusters of about 10 bulbs together for a dramatic effect in your landscape, just make sure they aren't touching, about 1 cm apart is perfect
- Water well (this initial watering should not be alarm for rot) and cover back up with soil---set and forget until spring!
Planting For Cut Flower Production
- Dig a wide trench 6-8" deep and as wide as you need it to be, and add some bulb fertilizer if you want; make sure bottom of the soil is somewhat loose and not extremely compact
- Place tulip bulbs pointy side up and space them closely together, like eggs in an egg carton
- Give the bulbs a really good drink, soak them well so about 1/2 your trench is full---this helps to establish strong roots
- Fill the trench back up with soil, add some compost if you wish---and leave it be!
- Don't forget to label your tulips or mark where they are so you know where to look come spring
In zone 3, we don't need to worry about watering our tulips over winter, as we will get moisture in the form of snow. You can start watering again come spring as the bulbs start to push up through the soil.
Then, come May and June, be in for landscape or cut flower production, you get to enjoy stunning tulips!