Potted tulips are a lovely way to usher in spring, whether you keep them indoors or outside for an early splash of colour! You can buy potted tulips at the florist’s or grocery store, and bring them home to brighten up the last days of winter, or force them for blooming with some advance planning.
From the time you plant the bulbs, you can expect it to take 12 to 16 weeks for potted tulips to bloom. Once the flowers have opened, they will last 2 to 4 weeks before fading. Some simple steps can help your potted tulips bloom for the longest possible time.
How to Care for Potted Tulips?
- Keep potted tulips well-watered; soak the soil and then let excess water drain away. Never leave the pot in standing water, as that will rot the roots.
- Fertilize the soil once a week with a water-soluble fertilizer.
- Keep the pot out of direct sunlight.
- Before you go to bed, either put the pot in a refrigerator or in an unheated outdoor space where the flowers will not freeze, but the cool temperatures will extend their life.
Can Tulips Survive the Winter in Pots?
Tulips need a period of chilling before they will bloom, so planting pots of tulips and leaving them in a protected spot outdoors is the best way to force blooms for the spring.
Pack the bulbs closely in the pot, but not touching. Use a standard potting soil and soak it well, letting the excess water drain away.
Once you have planted your tulip bulbs in pots, find a sheltered spot such as an unheated garage to store them for several months. If necessary, wrap the pots in something like chicken wire to keep squirrels from finding these tasty treats in winter!
If you have room in an extra refrigerator, you can leave the tulip pots in there for the winter months.
Potted Tulips Temperature Tolerance?
Potted tulip bulbs need to be chilled for 12 to 16 weeks at 40°F (4.5°C) or lower before they will sprout and bloom.
Once they have bloomed, potted tulips will last the longest when kept at temperatures below 60°F (15°C). If your pots are outside on a porch or patio, they will do best in early to mid-spring. Indoors, try to keep your potted tulips in as cool a spot as possible.
Do Potted Tulips Come Back Each Year?
Potted tulips will rarely bloom year after year, but that doesn’t mean that you have to throw out the spent bulbs.
Instead, find a corner of your vegetable patch to plant out the bulbs once the flowers have faded but the foliage is still green. Add a good scoop of bone meal to the planting hole, and plant the bulbs with the stems attached. Keep them watered, and once the foliage has yellowed cut them down to the soil level. Mark the spot with a stake so you don’t disturb the bulbs, and in the fall, you can move them to a flower bed to bloom the following spring.
When Should You Plant Tulips in a Pot?
Tulips should be planted in a pot 12 to 16 weeks before you want them to bloom. They need to be kept at a maximum temperature of 40°F (4.5°C) until you start to see sprouts emerging after about 12 weeks. Then, place them in a sunny spot at room temperature while they continue to grow foliage.
How Long Do Potted Tulips Take to Grow?
Once potted tulip bulbs have started to sprout, they will bloom within 2 to 3 weeks.
How Long Will Potted Tulips Last Inside?
Potted Tulips will last from 2 to 4 weeks when kept inside, as long as you take proper care of them. Regular watering and weekly fertilizing will help. However, one of the biggest factors is temperature, with cool temperatures extending blossom life. Before going to bed, move the pot of tulips either to a refrigerator, cold room, or outdoors as long as temperatures stay above freezing.
With their wide range of colours and bright, cheery blooms, tulips are one of the favourite flowers of early spring. Potted tulips are a great way to bring some of that beauty into your home, and a few simple tracks will help extend their blooming period to its maximum!
Janice is a retired High School teacher who is spending her leisure years keeping busy with all sorts of projects. Aside from freelance writing, she’s an enthusiastic amateur chef, home wine maker, and tends a large raised-bed vegetable garden, while at the same time running a Bed & Breakfast.