Bright tulips swinging in the garden with the breeze can make your spring calming and cheerful. But, you can grow tulips in pots in the spring if you don’t have a garden. Generally, the tulip bulbs are forced to grow in pots, so they might not flower for more than a year. But, gardeners manage to do it.
In this article we will learn all about potting a tulip and when to repot tulips so they can thrive in your home.
As a general rule, The best season to repot tulips is during the fall every year, and the best time repot will be 5-6 weeks after the last bloom fades. Re-potting a tulip will give them appropriate space and a lot of nutrients to remain healthy and come back every year.
If you want to enjoy spring tulips in the pots indoors, you will need to re-pot them to make them last longer. In this article today, I will cover all information regarding when and how to re-pot tulips.
When and why should you re-pot tulips?
The bulbs are either left in the ground or dug up for replanting each year when grown in gardens. The same goes for potted tulips. You can either let them remain in the pot or dig them up to store and replant during the following fall.
Being a bulb plant, tulips can outgrow their pots and should be transplanted. You can divide the bulbs and re-pot them in separate pots.
If you are already growing in a big pot, you don’t need to change the pot. You just need to change the soil each year. This will give the bulbs extra fuel to flower year-round.
The ideal time to re-pot tulips is during the fall. After they flower in spring, the flowers die. But the leaves die after six weeks. These green leaves give the bulbs more energy to flower in spring next year.
During the fall months, the tulips finish their lifecycle and remain dormant. Re-potting the tulip bulbs in dormancy will not disturb their growing cycle or development.
There are chances of success for getting year-round tulip blooms in pots. When a bulb is forced, they lose most of their energy after they finish blooming.
But by giving them extra nutrients and carbohydrates, they will come back. This can be done by re-potting.
Along with that, the right temperature, soil, and light will also encourage getting year-round blooms. You must not transplant them in the spring because they actively grow and flower.
If you are lucky enough, you might be successful in transplanting from one pot to another before or at the beginning of the growing season. But, in most cases, you will injure those delicate bulbs. The bulbs will face difficulty in blooming and will die eventually.
So, as a general rule, if the question comes, when to re-pot tulips, the simple answer would be every year during the fall.
Re-potting will give the bulbs extra space to multiply without being overcrowded and extra nutrients and carbohydrates from new soil. While re-potting, you can also use a bit of bulb fertilizer to avoid nutrient deficiency.
Also read: How To Grow Tulips In A Pot? (Care+Possible Problems)
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How long will potted tulips last?
Generally, tulips can last long for a lot of years. With proper care and attention, tulips will appear every spring.
Some growers say that the potted tulips will take 8 to 16 weeks to flower, and once they finish flowering, they will last for not more than 15 to 30 days. This is because the bulbs are forced to grow indoors.
However, I can’t entirely agree with this. If you want, you can make your potted tulips last for a long time. You can occasionally bring them outdoors too.
You can make them last for several years. This somewhat depends on the climate of your region and the tulip variety.
Tulips can last for several years with good watering, deadheading, enough light, and ideal temperature. Moreover, you can try growing those tulip species that live for more than 1 to 10 years.
The environment required for potted tulips
During spring, the tulips bulbs will bloom only once a year, both in the garden and pot. When you pot or re-pot your tulip bulbs, you need to consider their growing environment.
An ideal growing environment for the pot’s tulips will help them grow year after year. Re-potting once a year in the fall will give the bulbs extra fuel. As a result, they will flower each year profoundly.
They will require unique soil and temperature for blooming early. Though the potted blooms are said to last for only a couple of months, for yearly blooms, you have to give them a good amount of nutrients and the right temperature when they are yet to bloom.
Their pot, soil, fertilizer, water, light, temperature, space, and proper drainage has to be up to their expectations for year-round blooms.
The soil should be lightweight, porous, and well-drained. Mix half loam or compost with half vermiculite, perlite, or bulb fertilizer. Add a tiny amount of bone meal and bulb fertilizer to the bottom of the pot.
When grown in a pot, the tulips won’t require fertilizing except during planting. The bulbs and the soil will provide the plant with all the nutrients after sprouting.
For proper drainage, the type of pot should also matter. The pot must have suitable drainage holes to drain out excess water. An unglazed pot, i.e., a terracotta pot, would be ideal so that the excess moisture can evaporate, leaving the soil free from prolonged dampness.
You can use a separate, outer decorative pot if you dislike the unglazed pot. Use the unglazed pot as a cachepot.
- How Much Sunlight Do Tulips Need? (Tulip Light Needs)
- How Often Do Tulips Need To Be Watered? (Tulip Watering Needs )
- What Kind Of Soil Is Good For Tulips? (Best Soil Mix)
- What Is The Best Fertilizer For Tulips? (Organic+Inorganic)
- What Temperature Do Tulips Need? (+Growing Them At Different Temperature)
Like other plants, the bulb plants will also outgrow in a pot. In tulips, the bulbs will need more space to multiply more. Transplanting bulbs to a new pot will give the bulbs more space to spread.
With more space, re-potting each year with new soil will give the tulips more nutrients and energy to bloom every year and last long.
Most of the growers dig up the bulbs from the pot after they finish their lifecycle for this year and store them to replant in the next year.
But, if their growing conditions are too good, you can re-pot and let them remain in the soil for flowering again in spring.
When they finish their growing cycle, the best time to transplant tulips is in the fall. It won’t interfere in their development.
You have to wait until tulips have flowered and the leaves die for transplanting. When the flowers die, the leaves will remain healthy, giving the bulbs enough energy to bloom in the following spring.
Once the leaves turn yellow and die naturally, you have to prune them off at the soil level in the pot.
When the fall arrives, they are done with their growing cycle, and you can transplant them. Dig up the bulbs and transfer them to a new pot for re-potting.
For re-potting, use new soil. This will give the bulbs more nutrients and energy to flower again next year.
If you dig up and store them, the bulbs will not multiply. But when you let them remain in the soil, they will multiply. When they multiply, use a bigger pot while re-potting them. Their roots don’t need too much room.
So, if you are using an enormous container, plant 5 to 6 bulbs each with 3 to 4 inches of space in between.
For transplanting or re-potting:
Dig up the bulbs.
The bulbs will multiply every 3 to 4 years. So, if there are any baby bulbs, divide them.
A 10 to 12 cm tulip bulb is expected to bloom. Some miniature tulip bulbs will bloom, and some will not bloom. They will need storage to reach the ideal size.
You can plant the small offsets by providing proper space in between. This will save your time from re-digging and re-planting. Or, you can also keep them in a growing condition where they were remaining for years.
After digging in the fall, re-pot them to a big pot. Tulips will not need a big pot unless it has been 3 to 4 years. Because, after 3 to 4 years, they will have baby bulbs, provided you did not store them.
Use a pot with drainage holes to flow out excess water from the pot.
You can use vermiculite and perlite potting mixtures for an ideal potting mix. It will make the soil porous, well-drained, and nutritious.
Fertile soil will give the bulbs extra nutrients to rebloom.
Fill up the container with the new potting mix. Fill half of the container and let the other half empty.
Now place the bulbs by facing the pointed side upwards. If the container is big enough, you can plant 5-7 bulbs together in the same pot.
Maintain a distance of at least 3 inches between the small bulbs and 4 to 5 inches between the big bulbs.
Also, leave some space from the sides of the container. This will keep the bulbs to hold soil from all their sides. Now, add the remaining potting soil over the bulbs. Make sure that the pointed tips are at the soil surface.
Maintain a good depth. Don’t go too deep, as that will take tulips forever to sprout out.
After you plant the bulbs, water the soil thoroughly.
Now, you have to maintain one thing here. If you have placed the pot indoors, you have to water them 1-2 times a week, depending on the climate.
Skip watering when they are outdoors during heavy rains. In a drought climate, water 1-2 times a week.
The pot should be placed in a cool place if kept indoors. The temperature around them should neither be hot nor too cold. It would range between 7°C to 13°C.
When the tulips start sprouting, shift them to a temperature of around 16°C to 21°C.
Can I replant potted tulips?
When grown in pots, tulips are forced to grow and bloom. Forcing the tulip bulbs requires a lot of energy. That is why most growers use new bulbs instead of forced bulbs to enjoy tulips all the time.
But, it is still possible to use these forced bulbs to transplant in the garden. But it might take at least 2 years for the potted tulips to bloom again.
Once the tulips complete their flowering in pots, trim off the dead flowers to stop them from producing seeds.
Continue to water the plant every 2 weeks with a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer. The green foliage is still capable of photosynthesis and transferring energy to the bulbs.
Once the leaves start getting yellow, decrease watering and stop feeding them. When all the leaves die, cut them off.
Dig up the tulip bulbs from the pot and replant them in the garden.
Select a site that gets full sun and add a 2-inch layer of compost to the bed before planting. This will improve soil drainage and fertility. Water the bed after planting.
Transplant the bulbs 6 weeks before the first expected fall frost in your region.
Tulips are lovely flowers that will give both your outdoor and indoor space a bright spring season.
Most growers say tulips will not remain alive for a long time when grown in a pot. But with a good amount of care and attention, they will last longer and even bloom every year.
Give them full sun, water once a week, fertilize during planting and keep them away from the excess cold and hot surroundings. Re-pot them during the fall to give them extra space and nutrients as an extra booster to flower every year.
You might not need to change the pot size every year until they multiply. You only need to change the soil. Your tulips will only multiply when you let them remain in pot soil.
When grown indoors, they of kind of forced. Forced tulips will require quite a different sort of growing environment. So, provide those basic requirements to enjoy potted tulips every spring.
Source: Wikipedia, North Dakota Stae University, The Royal Horticultural Society.