Perennial tulips are special because, unlike many hybrids, they come back reliably year after year. Besides choosing a truly perennial variety, there are a few steps you can take to ensure perennial performance… Plant bulbs in well-drained soil. This will help naturalizing or perennializing and cut down on the risk of disease and fungus. Plant bulbs deep. Measuring from the base of the bulb, place the tulip about 6” inches deep. Water after planting. This will ensure that your tulips develop a strong root system before going into winter dormancy. After the blossoms have peaked, remove the flower heads and allow the green foliage to die back. Fertilize in fall and spring.
The botanical name of this popular spring flower is derived from the Persian word, toliban, turban, when the inverted flower was supposed to resemble. It does belong to the Lily Family and grows wild over a great territory from Asia Minor through Siberia to China. Tulips are very easy to grow. Most gardeners plant their bulbs in November in full sun. Place your tulips about 6” deep in moderately loamy soil with some humus and sand added. After flowering, allow bulb foliage to wither before cutting – that way, sap in the foliage returns to the bulb where it provides added strength for next year.
Care in Lifting - You may choose to lift your tulips after the foliage has ripened. This is not necessary with hardy perennial varieties. If you lift, store the bulbs in a dry place during the summer and replant them next fall in fresh soil – this will reduce the risk of disease. Each year before replanting, inspect your bulbs for bruises or cuts that may allow diseases to enter and then spread to other bulbs. This is essential since an infection of the incurable disease ‘Fire’ (Boyrytis) will require you to burn all your tulips!