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Planting tulips in autumn: it’s almost time! Learn how to grow the plants in the garden & in the pot

Tulips are spring bulbs that gardeners plant in mid to late fall to ensure a good bloom in the spring. Find out what you should know about planting tulips in the fall, what the different varieties are and when they bloom in this article.

Planting tulips in autumn – what you should know

Tulips are spring bulbs that gardeners plant in mid to late fall

Are tulips perennials? Tulips are technically perennials, but years of breeding for the most beautiful blooms means that many varieties only bloom reliably for one year. Some tulips bloom earlier than others – early-blooming varieties bloom from late March to April, mid-blooming varieties bloom from April to May, and late-blooming varieties bloom in May. If you grow a mixture of different varieties, you can extend the flowering period. You can also mix flower shapes, heights and colors. Combining tulips can be quite an art, but you can buy ready-made mixtures for planting at garden centers or online.

Tulip varieties and flowering times

Are tulips perennial

Early tulips (late March to April).

  • Simple early tulips – some of the earliest tulips, usually blooming in late March or early April. Simple, cup-shaped flowers on sturdy stems. Try “Apricot Beauty” or “Prinses Irene.”
  • Double early tulips – long-lasting, double flowers that look like peonies, on short stems. Early to mid-April. Try the tulip “Verona”, with bright yellow flowers.
  • Kaufmanniana hybrids – water lily-like flowers. One of the most reliable perennial varieties.
  • Species / botanical tulips – small and delicate (10-15 cm high), but hardy and durable. They are ideal for rock gardens, gravel gardens, containers or the front of a border. They will come back year after year and self-seed if you don’t de-hair them. Some bloom early, others later in the season.

Mid-season tulips (April to May).

  • Triumph tulips – hardy tulips with strong stems that bloom in April. Good for a windy location. Try the lipstick pink ‘Barcelona’, the wine red and yellow ‘Abu Hassan’ or the orange ‘Cairo’ or ‘Brown Sugar’.
  • Darwin hybrids – tall tulips with large, cup-shaped flowers. The stems are very strong and wind resistant. Reliable perennial. Try “Apeldoorn” or “Apricot Beauty.”
  • Fosteriana hybrids – these have slender, closed flowers that open wide in full sun. They sometimes have purple or brown markings. Formerly known as Emperor tulips. Try the stunning white tulip “Purissima.”

Late Tulips (May)

  • Single late/Darwin – oval flowers on tall, strong, wind-resistant stems. Try the dark purple tulip “Queen of the Night,” the peach-colored tulip “Menton” or the white “Maureen.”
  • Double late bloomers/peonies – one of the last tulips to bloom, and very long lasting. The large flowers look like peonies. Try the beautiful peach-colored tulip “Angelique”.

Planting tulips in autumn – in the garden & pot.

Different varieties of tulips also have different flowering times

Planting tulips in autumn – garden: Choose a sunny spot with good drainage. These plants do not grow well in the shade and rot in moist soil. Soil preparation in the fall is important for tulip care. Dig up the site and loosen the soil to a depth of about 30 inches. Add some compost or dry fertilizer to the soil. Also add some 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 granular fertilizer to encourage bulb growth.

Mix the existing soil, additives and fertilizer like a cake batter until everything is well mixed. When you have well prepared the site for the tulips, you can easily dig each planting hole. You should dig each hole three times as deep as the height of the tulip bulb. There should be twice as much soil over the top of the bulb as the height of the bulb.

Plant the bulbs in groups of ten, 5 inches apart. Place the bulb so that the pointed end is facing up. Don’t worry if some of them are upside down. They should still bloom, but it takes longer for them to come out of the ground in the spring and they may not be as tall as they should be.

Planting tulips in the fall – pot: tulips grow great in pots. Fill the pot halfway with peat-free multipurpose soil and plant the bulbs at a depth three times their height, a few inches apart. You can also combine tulips with other spring bulbs in one container for a longer-lasting effect.

How do tulips last longer in the vase? You can find out here !

When exactly you should plant tulips in autumn

Planting tulips in the fall - what you should know


Tulip bulbs can be planted starting in mid-October, but November is considered the optimal time because it reduces the risk of a fungal disease called tulip blight, which is destroyed in colder weather. You can also plant tulip bulbs in December or even January – they will bloom in the spring. If you forgot to buy bulbs, you can buy tulips in pots at the garden center in the spring – enough to display in one or two pots.

Planting tulips in March – what you should be sure to do, you can learn here !

Possible problems and their solutions

Tulip fire (Botrytis tulipae) is a fungal disease that is particularly bad in wet seasons, as the spores are spread by wind and rain. Symptoms include distorted and stunted shoots and leaves and unsightly brown spots all over the plant. If your plants are infested, remove and burn them and do not plant tulips in the same spot for at least two years. If you store bulbs from year to year, prevent this problem by dipping them in a fungicide solution. If you plant the bulbs starting in November, there should be less risk of the disease.

How you should cut off faded tulips, find out here !

Things to know: are tulips poisonous

Tulips are poisonous. They contain alkaloid glycosides in all parts of the plant except the petals, with the highest concentration found in the tulip bulb. Humans, dogs, cats, horses, farm animals, rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs can be poisoned by tulips. Symptoms depend on the amount ingested.