Daily Mail - Daily Mail Weekend Magazine



There are two approaches to planting tulips. If you intend them to remain in a mixed border then they should be planted as deep as possible, ideally at least 15cm (6in) below the surface. In practise this is quite difficult and time-consuming and it is awkward to make a planting hole with a normal trowel much more than 7.5cm-10cm (3in-4in) deep. If your soil is at all heavy put a handful of grit in the planting hole beneath each bulb.

However, if you are planting in a container or using the tulips as bedding and will remove them after flowering, then they will perform perfectly well placed just below the surface. When planting in pots, mix in plenty of horticultu­ral grit with ordinary potting compost to improve the drainage.

As with all bulbs, never cut back the leaves after flowering but pinching off the seed heads will help create stronger new bulbs. If you are growing them in containers be sure to keep them in a sunny spot after flowering to encourage production of plump new bulbs for next year. Tulip bulbs die back after flowering and create new bulbs. Only the largest bulbs will produce a flowering stem, which is why tulips often produce ‘blind’ plants in their second year. What flowers there are tend to be smaller too. When buying bulbs always choose big, plump specimens as these will produce the best flowers.

Tulips are very hardy and will survive the very coldest weather but they can be encouraged to flower earlier by bringing a container into a heated greenhouse or porch as the leaves start to grow.

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