Landscape Architect at the National Capital Commission
Last updated: October 20, 2021
Each spring, close to a million tulips bloom in the gardens of Canada’s Capital. Our landscape architects have already designed clusters of tulips of different varieties, colours and sizes for the upcoming season. Now it’s time to plant the tulips.
How to grow tulips in your garden
Here are our tips and tricks on growing tulips in your own garden.
Step 1: Choose a site
- Choose a planting bed in full sun or bright light in spring. Most tulips in the Capital Region bloom in May.
- Soil with good drainage is absolutely essential.
Step 2: Choose your tulip bulbs in early fall
- Buy your tulip bulbs early for the best selection and quality.
- Choose tulip bulbs that are large and firm. They should have no soft spots, bruises or blemishes, and should feel heavy in relation to their size.
- Plan to plant the bulbs in clusters of 7 to 15.
- Try choosing a blend of colours and differing heights to create a “bouquet” effect. Choose varieties with different bloom times (early, mid-season or late) to extend the blooming period.
- Store bulbs in a cool, dry place until they are planted.
Step 3: Plant your tulip bulbs
- Plant tulip bulbs when soil temperature is below 10 to 15˚C (50 to 60˚F), before the ground freezes, usually between late September and late October.
- Loosen and remove soil to a depth of 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches). Rule of thumb: plant at a depth that is equal to three times the height of the bulb.
- Loosen soil at the base of the planting hole. To enrich it, mix in bone meal (follow package directions).
- Place bulbs with the pointed tip facing up at least 5 cm (2 inches) apart.
- Cover bulbs with soil, and water the area thoroughly.
Protect your tulip garden
Worried about critters getting into your tulip garden? Here are three solid ways to repel any unwanted guests:
- Chicken manure pellets
- Blood meal
- Plant the tulips with daffodils (most wildlife don’t like them!)