How to Grow Tulips in Southern California

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If you live in Southern California and you've ever tried growing tulips, then you know just how frustrating it can be. But if you do some research and you chose a mild west variety, then you can enjoy some beautiful tulip blooms throughout springtime. Tulips in Southern California have their own growing instructions, but it starts by choosing the right tulip varieties. Follow these steps to enjoy the splendor of a Southern California tulip garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Warm-climate tulip bulbs
  • Low-nitrogen fertilizer
  • Organic matter
  • Buy tulip bulbs that are 1-1/2 inches in diameter. The tulips should be labeled and pre-selected for the Southern California area. Purchase the tulips between September and December. The best tulip varieties are Avignon, Blue Jay, Fiesta and Apeldoorn's Elite.

  • Freeze the tulip bulbs 6 weeks before planting them. Keep them away from all fruits, especially apples. Frozen bulbs produce the prettiest blooms. Freezing the bulbs ensures that they do not sprout before planting.

  • Blend a low-nitrogen fertilizer into your soil, a pound of 10-10-10 for every 100 square feet. Make sure the soil is rich with nutrients by also blending in organic matter. The soil should be well drained.

  • If you want tulips at the end of March, plant Angelique or Apricot Beauty. Darwin Hybrids and Triumph grow best in April, and for even greater results, plant Fringed and Parrot to bloom in May.

  • Bury the tulip bulbs 5 inches under the soil. The tips should protrude from the soil surface if planting the bulbs in pots. Water well after planting. Water them less often until leaves form, and then water frequently again.

Tips & Warnings

  • Proven warm weather tulips include Orange Grove, Carmel, Purple Star, California Giant, Lucky Strike, Sunrise, Marina and Lemon Grove.
  • After the tulips bloom, remove the bulbs and throw them away.
  • Spray the tulips with a mixture of water and an insecticidal soap to kill any aphids.
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