How-to add color with Tulipmania

I’m mad about Tulips, particularly those lusty, lovely, hybrid Dutch ones. Most years, I plant them in the ground during the fall for a beautiful spring display. But this past fall, I was wore out.  Does that every happen to you?  When you need to be working the most in the garden you find the gardening year has just plumb wore you out?  I really hate to admit it, but it often does me, especially when it comes to planting spring blooming bulbs each fall.

Last year, I tried something different, and it worked so well, I’m doing it again in my garden. I’m planting NOW since I’m more refreshed after already doing my fall chores. And all my Dutch hybrid tulips are planted in pots. It’s not too late to do! If you got some bulbs for the holidays, or find yourself in the garden center, where they are still plentiful, treat yourself, they can still be planted.

Here is what I did last year, and it worked like a charm!

Off in a secluded  area of the garden, I staged several pots, adding a mass of tulips to each pot. I filled the pot with potting soil, about three quarters full, laid the tulips with the pointed ends up, and covered with more potting soil to the reach the top.  This allowed enough room to plant bulbs at their recommend depth of  three times the height of the bulb, or in this case, about  six inches deep.

There they sat – at first putting down roots, then soon sending up foliage.   Admittedly, when checking on them during the winter, I wondered it was such a bright idea.

As of March 14

But then…they bloomed.

Once the blooms opened, I moved the flower filled pots  to spots in the garden to add a splash of color, creating wonderful spring displays…without a lot of digging.

Two pots went into the front garden.  Placed close to the entrance of the house and seen from the street, creating a wow statement, receiving high marks on curb appeal.

A splash of color using tulips in pots near the entrance of the home

A pot full of tulips adds a splash of color in the back Mixed Border garden

Up the steps, through the Mixed Border spying the green bench, is another pot of tulips.

Simple, easy, and just as rewarding, if not more so, than if the bulbs were planted in the ground.  Thrilled with my success,  I’ve decided to add Dahlias to these same pots, once the threat of the last frost is past, right about the time the tulip’s show will be over.

Can’t wait to share my success with the potted Dahlias.  Now I’m off to pick up a few more varieties of tulips!


The TarHeelGardening blog is published and edited by Helen Yoest. For more information on Tarheel Gardening, please visit our website at Tarheel Gardening – your online resource for North Carolina gardening enthusiasts.

By: Helen Yoest


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