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Eight tips for growing the best tulips

Vivian Russell / 22 October 2013

Find out how the English florists grow their tulip bulbs with these eight top tips for getting the most from your tulips.

Tulips in english garden
Find out how the English Florists grow their Tulip bulbs

Find the right position

Always choose a warm, sunny spot to plant your tulips.

Add lime

Tulips like a free-draining, slightly alkaline soil, so add a bit of lime if you need to and make sure soil is not waterlogged or they will rot.

Plant late in the year

Bulbs are traditionally planted on Lord Mayor’s Day, which is usually in November. Don't plant them any earlier, to avoid the bulbs putting on too much growth then getting cut back by a cold spring.

Plant in old potato beds

If you grow potatoes, plant tulips in the old potato bed. Tulips are prone to eel worm damage but any present in the soil will have used up their energy attacking the potatoes.

Protect from mice

Protect bulbs against squirrels and mice. this can be done by laying chicken wire over the soil.

Experiment with feeding

Some English florists think growing tulips ‘hungry’ produces better patterns; others feed them with Growmore or Vitax Q4.

Lift and store

Lift bulbs when the foliage has died back and store them in a warm, dry place.

Avoid virus-prone varieties

If you want to try growing your own flamed or feathered tulips, Rembrandt tulips have patterned petals but don’t carry the virus.

Visit our Home and Garden section for gardening guides, home improvement tips and much more.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.