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How to Grow Tulips in Raised Beds

Jump to Recipeoverhead shot of blooming tulips in raised bed

Growing tulips in raised beds is a beautiful way to have a lot of color in your garden before starting your vegetables.

How to plant tulips in raised beds?

You want to plant your tulips in the fall. I am in zone 6a and I am planting my tulips in late October. You can really plant them any time before the ground freezes.

If you are planting a full raised bed, this is the easiest way I have found to plant you tulips.

  1. Remove the top 6 inches of soil in your raised bed.
  2. Add in some compost to make sure the soil has some nutrients to help the flowers form. This is important if you have recently used the bed for a lot of vegetables that may have depleted the soil nutrients.
  3. Add your bulbs to the raised bed. I wanted mine to feel very full so I placed them about 4 inches apart. I used 100 tulips for a 3’x 6’ raised bed.
  4. Add the soil you removed on top of the bulbs. You should have about 6” of soil above your bulbs. This may vary depending on the bulbs you get. I would check the package instructions on your tulips to make sure you are matching what they suggest.
  5. Water them in. And you are done!

If you live in a very dry climate you may need to give them a little water throughout the winter but I never give my bulbs any extra water and they have done great for me in the past.

tulips bulbs in raised bed before covering them with soil

What tulips to use when planting in raised beds?

You can use any types of tulips you want in your raised beds. You can also do other bulbs as well, but I have not tried that yet.

When buying bulbs I like to get mine from Colorblends. You can buy them in bulk so they are cheaper than buying a lot of little packs at the store.

The tulips in this picture are the Beauty of Spring Tulips

beauty of spring tulips in bloom

What to do with tulips once they are done blooming?

When you tulips are done you have 3 choices.

  1. Pull the tulips and add them to your yard waste.
  2. This way is very easy because you can pull them as soon as they are done and use the raised bed space for something else. This also lets you try different varieties year to year. The down side of this is that you need to buy new bulbs every year.
  3. Let them die back and leave them in the raised bed.
  4. This option is nice if you want them to come back in the same spot every year. The downside of this option is that it takes up space in you raised bed garden when you could be planting something else. If you want the tulips to come back the next year you need to leave the leaves to soak up the sun to give the bulb energy. You can cut the leaves back once they have died. This can take a few weeks to a month.
  5. Plant the tulips out in you landscape.
  6. If you want to save the bulbs but not use up the raised bed space you can move the bulbs to a place in the garden once they are done blooming. Make sure to plant them 6” deep and let the leaves fully die back before removing them.

How to use the raised bed after the tulips?

Once the tulips are removed form the raised bed you can go in and plant other flowers or vegetables as you normally would. If you decide to leave the bulbs in, make sure to plant crops with low root systems such and lettuces and herbs. Don’t plant potatoes or carrots as they might disturb the bulbs.

Cutting tulips for bouquets

Having tulips come up in the garden in spring is such a beautiful way to start to the growing season! I have loved having some color in the garden where there would otherwise be dirt.

This is also a fun way of having flowers to cut and bring into your house or give to family and friends. For the longest vase life you want to cut your tulips when they are just about to open.

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I tried planting them this past fall. I hope they turn out this beautiful in the spring.

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