“I guess he’d rather be in Colorado
He’d rather spend his time out where the sky looks like a pearl after a rain”
Growing Tulips in Colorado
Tulips are part of the Tulipa genus which has over 100 species of flowers. Tulips are perennials (many tulips are planted in late fall as annuals) and are a welcome emergence of color to your garden every spring. Tulips thrive in climates where there are long cool springs and dry summers, making them an ideal plant for gardens in Colorado.
When and Where to Plant
For tulip growers in Colorado, the best results are typically achieved by planting the bulbs in late September through October and even as late as December depending on when and where you want them to bloom. Even though tulips grow well in both sun and shade, you will want to avoid planting tulips in a southerly exposure too early in the year, in order to avoid premature blooming.
If you plant your bulbs too early in the year, at a shallow depth, the heat from a south exposure can make the bulbs bloom in the early heat only to be killed off by an inevitable freeze. Conversely, if you are late to plant your bulbs you can make up the time by planting your bulbs in a southerly exposure and at a more shallow depth thus allowing the bulbs a better chance of warming up and blooming. An average depth of 4 to 8 inches should do the trick. The best rule of thumb for the proper depth is to plant the bulb at a depth three times as deep as the height of the bulb. For example, if the bulb is one and ½ inches tall, dig a hole 4 and ½ inches deep and place the bulb at the bottom with 3 inches of soil on top of the bulb. You can group the bulbs together according to a similar guideline. Spacing the bulbs at a width two times the width of the bulb allows for close grouping and spectacular blooming in the spring. If the bulb is one inch wide space the bulb two inches from the next bulb and proceed accordingly.
For all of the procrastinators out there don’t worry, if you miss the time window of fall you can still plant late in the year. To achieve the proper blooming schedule, plant the bulbs at a slightly more shallow depth than normal and pick a space in your yard where the sun will assure warmth throughout the proceeding season.
Picking the Best Tulip Bulbs
An all important step to great tulips is picking the best Tulip bulbs. You want to pick the biggest, firmest, fullest bulbs available. In the case of bulb picking size does matter, and bigger is definitely better. You do not want bulbs that are soft to the touch as they may contain mold and thus might lead to bulb rot.
Preparing the Soil
Once you have picked the biggest and best bulbs it is time to prepare the soil in which you have decided to plant. The soil should be quick draining and well aerated as this is where tulips will thrive. Dig your holes and then begin placing your bulbs. The bulbs need to be planted with the point up and the flat part of the bulb sitting at the bottom of you hole. You will only need to water if you feel the ground is particularly dry.
If you follow these simple steps to planting Tulips, you can expect an amazing burst of color come spring and you can enjoy your Tulips for many years!