Get ready for spring and plant your tulips now (in the late fall)!
French tulips were originally grown in the south of France, but today they are mainly grown in Holland and California. French tulips are available in sunset colors: orange, peach, pink, yellow, and (my favorite) white. They are larger than most tulips, having taller, stronger stems, around 22 inches in length, and larger flower heads ranging from 2- 3 inches. They are classified as a single late bloomer and have a long vase life.
To me, the most beautiful French tulip is the “Maureen,” the largest of the white tulip family. These lovely and elegant flowers bloom in late spring, but you must plant them in late autumn (or early winter for mild climates) for them to establish and start growing in spring.
When choosing a location in your garden to plant your tulips select a sunny spot, as tulips will not grow well in the shade. Make sure you have well-draining soil; adding compost, dried manure or some potting soil will help the bulbs grow best. Discard any bulbs that are soft, dried out, or moldy. They should be firm and have a papery outside, like an onion. Dig a hole three times the size of your bulb; if your bulb is two inches tall, dig down six inches. The pointy end goes up, and any roots will be down. If you are not totally sure, fear not. The bulb will produce a flower even if it it is planted upside down, though it may take a little longer to bloom! Cover with soil twice the height of the bulb (for a two-inch bulb cover with four inches of soil). You can plant in clusters of 10 (space two inches part) or plant in a row for a border garden. You can water the soil a little after planting, but do not “give a good soak.” Tulips and other bulbs will rot if they get too wet.
Watch the green stalks grow as spring arrives, and prepare to have the loveliest white tulips in your very own garden! They also make a nice cut flower.
For more gardening inspiration, check out my new book Ooh la la! French Inspirations for Entertaining and Travel available here.