The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Tulips at the end of the season?

Wales, United Kingdom Gb

Hi, What should you do with tulips at the end of the season? We've had a wonderful display this year......and hope for a repeat next year. Should I lift the bulbs? If so, when? At the moment, they're all in pots.

On plant Tulipa




When they finish flowering, break off the heads, let them die down naturally - but keep watering and feeding - until the leaves are dead. Then lift them and store in a cool dry place until planting time. Tulips are bulbs that deteriorate and don't do so well in subsequent years. Most people just buy new ones each year and maybe plant the old ones in a corner of the garden for a bit of colour.

20 Apr, 2008


Interesting aside - spring bulbs developed to occupy the ground below deciduous trees. They leaf and flower early because later in the season, the tree will leaf, and leave the area in shade - so they need to get their sunlight before then.

So, they grow when there's little light, by using energy stored in the bulb, then collect energy by photosynthesising spring sunlight, developing new energy resources in the bulb, then die back in summer, when the tree steals all the light... and repeat the cycle the following year.

Of course our ornamental flowers are artificially bred, so not everything works exactly as in nature -- but if you want to leave bulbs in the ground for a perennial display, it makes sense to simulate their natural habitat -- after the flowers die, keep feeding them and do not cut back the leaves, because this is the crucial stage where the bulb is being 'charged' for next year. It's not a pretty stage though - which might be a reason to buy fresh bulbs next year instead.

20 Apr, 2008


So.........if I moved the pots to a quiet but sunny corner and feed them regularly, then everything should be just great?

20 Apr, 2008


In theory, yes. Spritzhenry's point about commercial bulbs not doing so well in following years still stands.

Once the leaves have died, you can forget about the pots until spring.

20 Apr, 2008


One extra point about leaving them in pots - if they get too wet, they are liable to rot as the compost cannot drain as easily as if they were deep in the gound. We also tend to plant them more shallow - ly in pots than they would be in the garden soil. Don't be too disappointed with next year's show, but it's worth a try if you don't need the pots for different plants during the summer.

20 Apr, 2008


watched gardeners world last week and monty don said it was a good time to start splitting bulbs of dafs that are fading - so maybe it applies to tulipts too? he said you could spread bulbs around garden to get an even better display next year ?

20 Apr, 2008

How do I say thanks?

Answer question

Related photos

  • Pulchella (Tulipa acuminata)
  • Tulip Black Parrot (Tulipa)
  • Tulip 'Daydream' (Tulipa humilis (Tulip))
  • April Tulips (tulipa)

Related products


Related questions

Not found an answer?