Tulip bulbs are generally planted prior to the start of cold weather. This dormancy period allows the root structure of the flower to grow. The bulb should be planted at least 8 inches deep, leaving at least 2 inches of soil below the bulb.
A proper pot for a tulip bulb is one that drains well, preventing the bulb from rotting due to wet soil. General potting soil that drains easily is ideal for tulip bulbs. When planted in a pot, the temperature must be closely monitored; below 30 degrees, the bulb should be insulated or it may freeze and die. Storing a potted tulip bulb in an unheated basement or garage is an effective way to simulate the cold dormant period. Tulips endure a 15- to 20-week cold period, followed by a 2- to 3-week revival period where the pot should be moved to a warmer area with indirect sunlight.