Time to plant your tulips

Grab your coat. There’s still time to plant tulips and bring vi­brant colour to your gar­den next spring.

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - East Kent Property - - OUTDOORS -

Tulips are among the last spring bulbs you can plant.

Novem­ber is the ideal time as the colder tem­per­a­tures can help stop tulip fire dis­ease and other fun­gal and vi­ral dis­eases which re­main in the soil when it is warmer.

Make sure none of the bulbs are soft or look rot­ten and if there are any, dis­card them. Bulbs should be firm to the touch with no signs of dam­age or dis­ease. Choose a sunny spot and plant at three to four times the depth of the bulb, or deeper. The bulbs should be placed pointed side up­per­most into a mix­ture of spent com­post and added grit, to aid drainage. Throw a hand­ful of bulb food into the mix, fol­low­ing the in­struc­tions on the packet, then back­fill with the gritty com­post.

The most im­por­tant thing is not to let the bulbs re­main too wet over win­ter, or they are

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likely to go rot­ten, so keep your soil mix light and well-drained. If you have heavy soil, add extra grit and sand to the base of the plant­ing hole and place the bulbs on top of it.

If you are adding bulbs to con­tain­ers, make sure the pots have plenty of drainage holes and crocks in the bot­tom and prop them up on pot feet to stop ex­cess mois­ture seep­ing up from below. They are best planted in groups of at least three, but prefer­ably more, a few cen­time­tres apart de­pend­ing on the size of the bulb.

For max­i­mum im­pact, you may need to plant them closer to­gether than in­structed on the packet.

If you are plant­ing in pots, the more the mer­rier and you may want to layer two dif­fer­ent types, with one flow­er­ing af­ter the other, to pro­long the flow­er­ing pe­riod. If you are plant­ing tulips in a bor­der, you may want to im­prove the ef­fect by re­peat-plant­ing clumps of the same va­ri­ety through the bor­der.

Some tulips are not win­ter hardy and will need lift­ing once they have died down prop­erly and the fo­liage has gone brown, which of­ten hap­pens in early sum­mer. Leav­ing them to fully die down al­lows the bulb to store more food and pro­duce flow­ers the fol­low­ing year.

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