Tulips can offer your spring garden an amazing range of bright and vibrant colors.

They are also very easy to grow and more or less look after themselves once planted.

But some people are a little taken aback by how fast these flowers begin to die back.

Why Do Tulips Die So Fast?

Yellow tulips blooming in the sun

Your tulips die fast because they have a short life cycle above the ground and their blooms only last from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, depending on how hot the spring weather is.

Their flowers only last for a maximum of two weeks in spring (as long as they are planted in shade or the weather is not otherwise too hot.

In hot, direct sunlight, their blooms may only last for a couple of days.

Above ground, tulips have a short life cycle and begin to die within a few days to a couple of weeks of blooming.

How Long Do Tulips Bloom For?

Tulips thrive when conditions are cool and wet in winter and hot and dry in summer.

When these conditions repeat yearly, they stand a good chance of coming back and flowering year after year.

How long the tulips will stay in bloom will depend on how hot or cool the springtime is.

The flowers might only last a couple of days when exposed to hot full sun but may last for a couple of weeks if spring is cool or they are planted in the shade.

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How To Get Your Tulips To Flower For Longer

You can manage to keep tulip blooms in your garden for several weeks by planting different varieties of them.

There are early, mid and late-blooming tulips that can fill your garden with vibrant flowers from early to mid-spring.

You could try and plant some early blooming, pink and purple Van der Neers, followed by some mid-season Darwin’s, along with some late-blooming ballerina tulips.

Plant Tulips In Shade And In Full Sun

If you’d like to see tulip flowers in your garden over a longer period, plant some bulbs in the shade and some in sunnier spots.

The ones you plant in full sun will flower the quickest and be the first to fade and die.

The ones you plant in the shade will be a couple of weeks behind and will flower for longer.

You can also plant some in dappled shade and they may flower sometime in between.

This will mean that as some tulip blooms are dying others will be blossoming and you’ll enjoy the flowers in your garden over a longer period.

When To Plant Tulips For Best Results

If you plant the bulbs too early (before November) they are more susceptible to diseases that can impact their ability to blossom.

The best time to plant them to maximize blooms and minimize the risk of disease is around late November to early January.

But if you plant them any later than this they may not flower until the following year.

Deadhead Your Tulips So They Flower Again Next Year

Once you see the petals fall off the flower you can cut it off and just leave behind the long stem and foliage.

To stop your tulips from making seed, you’ll want to remove the flower as soon as you see the petals falling off.

If it starts to produce seed, it will divert energy away from the bulb which may negatively impact next year’s blooms.

Once the flower has been removed, leave the long stem and foliage to die back naturally.

The stem and leaves will continue to feed the bulb until they yellow and completely die back.

You shouldn’t need to cut the stem to remove it from the ground.

After a few weeks, you can just remove the stem from the surface of the soil and it should come away in your hand easily, leaving the bulb in the ground.

Why Are My Tulips Not Flowering

Tulips are perennials and in their natural habitat of Eastern Turkey, they do come back strong every year.

But sometimes, in our gardens, conditions are not always ideal for tulips and this can result in them not coming back the next year.

Water, Soil, And Sun

In nature, tulips grow in free-draining sandy soil, they experience cold, wet winters and very hot, dry summers.

The closer your environment can mimic these conditions, the better tulips will grow in your garden.

The Bulbs Have Split

Tulips should always flower the first year but after that, when they’re not growing in ideal conditions, their bulbs often split and become smaller over time.

This reduces the flowering capabilities of your plants and eventually, you’ll end up with no blooms and only tulips that produce leaves.

Unfortunately, once this happens there’s little you can do besides digging up and discarding those plants

They Are Not Ready

Sometimes your tulips may have been planted too late or just aren’t ready to flower.

They may need a bit more of a rest period before they have the energy to bloom.

If this is the case, some of your tulips may not flower one year but will probably come back and flower the next.

They usually flower best the first year and in coming years, their blooms may not be as big and brilliant as the first.

Some Types Of Hybrid Tulips Will Struggle To Flower Again

Some hybrid tulips were not cultivated to come back and flower year after year.

Some hybrids are designed to produce one big, brilliant flower and that’s it.

These types are better for cut flower displays and not ideal to be grown as a perennial in your garden.

The Best Tulip Varieties To Come Back Year After Year

Some tulip varieties come back better than others.

A few reliable types and varieties of reblooming tulips to look out for are:

  • Darwin hybrid tulips.
  • Fosteriana tulips.
  • Single early tulips.
  • Single late tulips
  • Wild tulips.
  • species tulips.

All these varieties are more likely to come back year after year.

How To Plant Tulips For Maximum Blooms

Plant bulbs in the soil 6 to 8 inches apart and at about a depth of three times the height of the bulb or about 6 to 8 inches deep.

Place bulbs in the ground with the pointy end facing up and water right after planting.

You should also add a little slow-release fertilizer to help them along.

Final Thoughts

Tulips can add the most gorgeous spread of color to your garden at a time in early spring when there’s not much else happening.

As long as you plant the right types of tulips in the right soil and deadhead them after the flowers die, you’ll have a sea of vibrant spring color coming back year after year.