Tulips need cold weather to thrive. They should be planted in the fall, which allows roots to spread throughout the winter. Planting tulips takes about an hour because the soil must be prepared before the bulbs go in. To prepare the soil and plant the bulbs, gather a large shovel, a hand shovel, a rake, a ruler, fertilizer, mulch, and some coarse sand or shredded wood chips.Continue Reading
Tulips need good drainage, and they thrive in light soil that is not compacted. Dig out all the soil in a bed, going 10 inches deep. Till the soil to break up clumps, and add coarse sand or finely shredded wood chips to improve drainage.
Plant the tulip bulbs anytime during the fall, prior to when the ground usually freezes in your area. Arrange three to five bulbs in each square foot, placing each bulb three times as deep as its height. When calculating how much soil to place on top of the bulbs, measure from their base. Cover the bulbs with soil and add a 5-10-5 fertilizer. Water thoroughly.
Add a layer of mulch that is several inches deep. Mulch prevents the ground from freezing while the bulbs are spreading their roots.