Tulips balance symmetrical perfection with elegance of proportion in a wide range of colours
Flowers: March to May
Full sun or part shade
Plant September to November
Best planted in groups of one variety. Traditional large reds are very robust and will grow in most places, but the finest to my eye at least are the lily-flowered varieties. These have rather taller thinner flowers with a slightly out-turned tip to each petal. Tulips are shorter lived (from year to year) than other spring bulbs, especially the more delicately flowered types.
Plant - In containers, borders or beds, NOT in grass, they can't compete in the way that daffodils can.
Depth - 4-6" of soil above the top of the bulb, less in heavy, more in light soils,
Cultivation - after flowering, remove the seed heads and water once with double strength liquid fertiliser, plenty of it to reach the bulbs and roots. Leave leaves to die down naturally, remove when completely brown. Tulip leaves are less obtrusive than other spring bulb foliage.
Containers - I plant 10-12 bulbs of about a dozen varieties every autumn in 10L or thereabouts pots, one variety per pot. When they flower from April onwards I bring them onto the decking near the house, after flowering they are planted in the borders for subsequent years. They are much bigger and last much longer than a bunch of tulips bought in the spring,