Tulips are native to North Africa, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Ukraine, Mongolia and southern Siberia but are now grown in countries across the globe. Popular regions for tulip growing include Holland, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Australia and the U.S. states of Michigan, Iowa and Washington. They are cool-season plants that need several months of winter cold to be at their best.
Tulips are fairly easy to grow in a home garden, but they are often short lived. This is because conditions in their native mountainous regions are difficult to duplicate in the home garden. Many home gardeners treat tulips like annuals rather than perennials, planting new bulbs each fall to ensure they have blooming tulips every spring.
For best results, tulip bulbs should be planted 6 to 8 weeks before the first anticipated frost date. They need to be planted when soil temperatures are about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Garden spots with afternoon sun are best when situated in temperate climates. In warmer regions, tulips should be planted in garden spots that receive morning sun but are shielded from the harsh rays of the afternoon sun.
Tulips dislike excessive moisture, so home gardeners need to avoid planting them in low-lying garden areas prone to sogginess or standing water during times of heavy rain. Bulbs should be spaced about 6 inches apart and need to be planted about 8 inches deep.
Tulips bloom for several weeks in mid-spring. Gardeners should deadhead tulips after they are finished blooming and allow the foliage to turn completely yellow before removing it.