When to plant tulip bulbs – Gardeners’ top tips on what you can plant this January

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With many of us confined to our homes for the next few weeks, a lot of us have taken up new hobbies to pass the time. Some have tried reading, others have taken up running, but for many gardening has become a lifeline. Those of us lucky enough to have a garden will have certainly enjoyed some lockdown fun outside in the past few months, but even during this colder weather can we still enjoy getting out to do some planting. Tulips are a great reminder of what’s to come.

Tulips are among the most popular of flowers in the UK, flowing from March until May in an array of bright colours.

Theses bulbs are easy to plant and grow with little to no fuss, meaning even the beginner gardeners can get stuck in.

They should be planted at least twice the bulb’s width apart, and at a depth of two or three times the bulb’s height.

And you should make sure to only plant health bulbs, throwing out any that show signs of damage. But when in the year should they be planted?

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When should plant tulip bulbs?

The best time to plant tulips is November to December.

But if you’ve missed the boat, don’t panic as you can still plant tulips in January and even into February.

Chris Bonnett at GardeningExpress.co.uk said: “These colder months are the perfect time to be preparing the garden for the warmer climates of spring, but only robust bulbs, seeds and plants will survive the bitterness of winter.

“Hardy, but beautiful flowers like primroses are great to add a splash of colour and the cheery bright yellow of a Daffodil signifies the end of dark nights and the optimism that spring brings.

“It’s still not too late to plant Spring flowering tulip bulbs or scented hyacinths. Just get them in before late January to mid-February and they’ll perform well for spring.”

While they may be a spring flower, they actually need the cold temperatures to grow.

In fact, these bulbs actually need about 14 weeks of cold weather in order to gather up all the nutrients from the soil they need to grow.

If you plant them in the spring, the warm soil won’t encourage the bulbs to break their dormant state, so instead you’re advised to plant tulips in late winter.

But be aware you shouldn’t try to start planting tulips in already frozen ground.

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With temperatures expected to fall to -10C in parts of the UK in the next week, it’s important to remember that not all plants are created equal and in these colder conditions, it’s important to give some a helping hand.

The bitterly cold temperatures can damage more tender plants, so they may need moving to a warmer spot.

Chris said: “If you have a sheltered area in the garden which doesn’t get as cold, that will do the trick.

“Covering plants in mulch gives them more protection, provides soil nutrients as it trots and improves drainage.

“Do keep a close eye on plants and water if they need it. They can dry out fast during windy weather.”

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