The Right Place
Plant tulips in mid to late fall, in a sunny location, at least 4 weeks before the ground freezes so their roots have time to develop. Like most bulbs, tulips will accept ordinary soil, as long as it drains well. Improve clay soil by digging in organic matter such as chopped leaves, compost or peat moss. Build tulip beds higher than the surrounding soil surface and add lots of organic matter to the soil to improve its drainage. Soil that is slightly acidic (pH 6.5) is ideal. If possible, loosen the soil 1 foot deep with a trowel or shovel or spade when preparing the bed for planting.
Planting Hybrid Tulip Bulbs
Plant tulip bulbs 6 to 8 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart. Bulbs planted deeper, up to 12 inches, multiply less, but produce bigger flowers. Measure the depth from the bottom of the hole. Point the bulbs’ growing tips upward and press their rounded bottoms into the soil, using a slight twisting motion to ensure good soil contact for the root plate. Fill the hole with soil and cover the bed with mulch to protect it from heaving from temperature fluctuations during the winter.