The bright colours of tulips in bloom are one of the first signs that a long, grey winter has finally passed. The vibrant yellows, reds, and pinks emerge from the green grass and bring giddy joy to lovers of springtime.
While Canada does put on a beautiful display of tulips on Parliament Hill, if you want to create your own ode to the season, here is what you need to know to create a dream tulip garden.
October planting makes May enchanting
Tulips are perennial flowers but in the colder Canadian climate, many gardeners treat them as annuals.
To begin with, if you want to see those bursts of colour in the spring, you have to plant the bulbs in the fall. So, if you are thinking about getting started, you will have to be patient. Go to your calendar and write down the date- you should plant the bulbs 6 to 8 weeks before the first hard frost.
Tulips, like tulip lovers, like nice, warm sunshine but they can grow in partially shady areas too. Remember that tulips usually come up before the leaves on trees so you can plant them where leaves would otherwise block the sun.
Tulips, on the other hand, do not like excessively wet environment. They grow best in places where the soil is well-drained.
So once you’ve figured out a nice home for the bulbs, dig 8 inch holes and place the bulbs, pointy tip up. For the best aesthetic results, it is suggested to plant tulips on groups, not straight lines or individually, spacing each bulb 4 to 6 inches apart. It is also advisable to put the taller ones at the back of the group. Remember, bigger bulbs hold more nutrients and produce hardier plants and flowers.
Then, cozy up inside, wait around seven months to see your new friends emerge.
Live and in full colour
Once you see tulips blooming, the most important thing is to sit back and enjoy their beauty and symbolism. Depending on the weather conditions, tulips don’t usually need watering unless it is extremely dry weather. As mentioned earlier, they like well drained soil because too much water can lead to rotting. Make sure your tulips don’t get too much water. If you are planning on keeping them as perennials, it is important to be vigilant of that during summer dormancy.
Dutch Growers, a Saskatoon garden centre, recommends to fertilize with 20-20-20 when the bulbs are about 3 inches high and again when the bulbs are done blooming.
When the petals drop, the foliage needs to continue growing. However, you can remove flower stalks to prevent them from seeding and stealing energy from the bulb. After the leaves die (about six weeks after it begins to yellow) you can pull them out easily from the soil.
Depending on the species of tulips, you may leave them in the ground for several years. If you do want to lift them annually, do that after the leaves have died and let the bulb ripen in a warm and dry place.
Tulips in bloom should last for 1 to 4 weeks.
By: Alyssa McMurty