Transplanting Tulips the Right Way

Transplanting tulips can be a great way to move spring color around your landscape. Whether you're making room for an outdoor kitchen or just tired of your current garden design, transplanting tulips is quick and easy.

Transplanting Tulips In Your Garden

Tulips and other spring flowering bulb plants have a specific life cycle that includes a period of dormancy. When your tulips are dormant, it is a simple matter to lift them from their current location and place them elsewhere in the garden. Getting started is easy:

  • Time for a nap. The best time for transplanting tulips is after their blooms are spent and their foliage turns yellow and wilts. When your tulips drop their blooms, they begin storing energy for next year's growth. Moving the bulbs too soon or cutting back green foliage will hinder the plants' ability to survive and thrive. When the foliage on your tulips has withered and yellowed, it can be gently pulled from the bulb.
  • Easy does it. To remove your tulip bulbs from the ground, use a garden fork or shovel. Place the tool into the ground about 2" or 3" away from the bulb. Gently rock the tool back and forth to loosen the soil and lift to expose your bulbs. Remove loose dirt and inspect your bulbs, discarding any that are soft or rotted.
  • A little help. Prepare a new hole with a depth that matches your tulip bulb's original location. Sprinkle a bit of bulb fertilizer into the new hole-this will give your plant some extra energy to make the transition. Place the bulb in the new hole with the pointed end facing up. Fill the hole with soil and water generously.
  • On the shelf. You may want to store your bulbs for re-planting in the fall. To store bulbs, clean them of excess soil and then place them in a shallow tray or basket. Place the container in a cool, shaded place to dry. Once your bulbs are dry, store them in a dark place, using a mesh bag (labeled by type or color).
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