Tulips in rich Soil? How to plant?

shannababy(5b)July 15, 2012

So after reading a lot and before I purchase any bulbs, I've been wondering how to include tulips in my fresh beds. They've been rototilled and had composted manure worked in.

I do have very sandy soil that I've been transporting to the compost dump because I don't have room for. We've taken a few trailer fulls as we've got a pond in the works too.


1. Can I plant tulip bulbs in say a compostable pot in sand and bury the pot or should I use plastic.

2. If the pot is only 4 inches high and the tulips are supposed to be 8 inches deep planted, should I dig the hole 8 inches deep and sink the pot 8 inches deep and backfill with sand or topsoil? If topsoil then I can plant other stuff on top correct?

3. Or should I just dig 8 inches deep and just throw sandy soil in there. Won't the sand eventually migrate into the surrounding topsoil?

Thanks for any help.

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karin_mt(4 MT)

Hi there,

I would advise against planting in a pot, that will just complicate things and may well compromise the drainage. Most likely your tulips will be just fine in the new soil you've prepared. Is your concern that the soil will be too rich so the tulips won't perennialize? How deep did you dig out the sandy soil? If you have rich soil on top and then sandy soil underneath, that could be a nice setting for tulip bulbs.

If you are trying to get the tulips to live for several years, then you could add a few shovelfuls of sand at the bottom of each planting hole. The other factor is to not water too much in the summer. That will have as big an effect as anything.

On the other hand if you are just wanting your tulips to grow for one year, then almost anything goes - they will do that without a problem.

Good luck, happy planning!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 9:49AM
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With all that extra sand have you thought of using it to build some berms and make your garden more interesting? Al

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 9:59AM
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I think I'd like to leave in pots if possible and remove them when they've done flowering and let them bake at the side the house in peace. but I/M def more interested in letting them perennialize if possible without pots. The bed I'm thinking of trying this is a Hosta bed in the front of the house so it would be getting some regular watering, I inherited some daffodils here and it seemed like the dying foliage stuck around forever.
I also have another area that is a raised sunny bed that will be rototilled soon and new topsoil added. I can't see it being dry though even as it will be housing lots of clematis.
I had to look up what berm meant, we have some in effect already as its pretty hilly around here.
I do have an extra fridge and freezer so I'm tinkering with = the idea of throwing potted bulbs in the freezer too as our garage is not heated.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 1:07AM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

You'll definitely want to avoid putting the bulbs in the freezer as that is a sure way to kill them. Unless you mean the freezer is not plugged in and you're thinking of it just as a place to store potted bulbs for forcing.

As for the pots in the ground, it sounds like a complicated plan to me. If it were me I would opt for bulbs with long lifespans to begin with (Emperor tulips being my favorite example) and mixing in the tulips with the hostas such that the hostas grow over the tulip foliage.

If you do decide to go with the in-ground pots, the tulips will need to be cared for once you take the pots out of the ground. They'll need water and good growing conditions after they've finished blooming otherwise the foliage won't be able to recharge the next year's bulbs.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 2:14PM
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