should be planted in late fall or early winter. They must have a
period of cold weather to produce adequate blooms the following spring.
Even when digging and replanting, do this in the late fall or early
Unlike the iris, they do not have to be moved each year although you may find they do better if dug and divided each year. This not only gives you more bulbs, but it also encourages the bulbs to grow larger which in turn produce larger blooms the next spring. This dividing must only be done when the bulbs are out of bloom. When you first plant bulbs, the ground must be moist, but not real wet, and then water them only after a two-week period. This allows the roots to get established. If watered to early after planting, the bulbs have a tendency to rot in the wet ground. If you water them early when the buds are rising, (just breaking through the soil) you'll also get larger blooms, and taller stems.
If you fertilize them, do so when the bulb is first planted. Put the fertilizer on top of the ground around the tulip bulb, and rake it into the top 1/4-inch of soil.
Tulips love compost rich soil and will reward you with exceptional blooms. They also love well-drained soil. I recommend about a 2 inch layer of compost be spread over the bed each spring before they start to push through the soil.
Spacing is also critical to get good blooms from tulips. They should be spaced about 4 inches apart in all directions. This is one flower that you do not want to crowd. They will fill in the space as they grow. When buying bulbs for the first planting, always select only the largest bulbs as they produce the largest blooms. Stay away from small or dried up bulbs you will only be disappointed in the results you get.