One of the many joys of gardening is planning ahead, and planting tulips is one way to prepare your outdoor space for a beautiful display come spring. After all, it doesn't get much lovelier than anticipating the delights that are to come, after nature has worked its wonders on what you’ve put into the soil months before.
And planting tulips is ‘the most important and best job of the month’, according to Monty Don. And, as one of our favourite gardening gurus, when Monty gives advice, we’re ready to get off the sofa and out into our own plots. Monty’s own garden, Longmeadow, is a huge source of inspiration for us and our garden ideas, as well as all his Insta followers, his TV audience, and the readers of his books, of course.
So for Monty’s expert tips on when to plant tulips and how, just scroll down.
When to plant tulips
Monty Don revealed that November is prime time to plant tulips on his website (opens in new tab) and here are his top tips.
How to plant tulips: Monty Don’s top tips
1. We did say that one of the pleasures of gardening is anticipation of the loveliness to come. However, we are all for an earlier payback and, if you share our impulse, get cracking with this task. As Monty explains, you have from about October until Christmas to get tulips into the ground, but the sooner they’re there, the sooner the flowers will appear.
2. The need-to-know for tulip growers? They require good drainage, Monty says. The takeaway? If your soil is heavy, add grit or sand to it, he advises.
3. Get digging... and digging. Plant tulips as deep as you can is Monty’s advice. It produces a stem that’s strong and straight, he says. You might like to follow Monty’s lead to create holes that are 30cm or more in depth for your flower bulbs using a crowbar.
4. When it comes to spacing them out, tulip bulbs should be around 8 to 10cm apart from one another. First-time bulb planters should note that they go in tip upwards.
5. Make sure you check bulbs before you put them into the ground. If any look damaged or mouldy, these shouldn’t be used.
6. Want to grow tulips in a container? This does give you some advantages, Monty explains. First, drainage isn’t such an issue. Secondly, the tulip bulbs don’t need to be as deep as they do in your garden soil.
7. If you’re opting for the container gardening route, you might also like to be inspired by Monty’s suggestion of planting in layers with a variety that will bloom early planted at the lowest level; a tulip that will flower in the middle of the season above; and then the latest bloomer in a top layer. Sounds good to us!