If there is no rain in the forecast for the next several days after planting, it’s a good idea to water the bulbs one time to get the roots started. It is not necessary to continue to water them as bulbs are very drought tolerant. A good rule of thumb when planting bulbs is to plant them three times as deep as the bulb is tall. Tulips get planted about 6 inches deep which is the depth of a soil knife, the preferred bulb planting tool of the Lurie Garden staff. (Defer to the planting depth instructions included with your bulb purchase.) Give them a good start by planting them pointed side up, though bulbs will re-orient themselves if planted upside down or sideways. This year we added about 5,000 bulbs to replenish our ornamental onions, fritillaries, and Spring Green tulips. In total nearly 130,000 bulbs have been planted by staff and volunteers since fall of 2006. There are many more bulbs than were planted in the garden as bulbs can naturalize, a great cost-saving plus. Grape hyacinth, narcissus, quamash, Siberian squill, and glory-in-the-snow are the most prolific naturalizing bulbs at Lurie. One reason for this is we water our garden wisely, only in the driest weeks of summer. Bulbs tend to rot in over-watered gardens and in poorly drained soils. Most hybrid tulips need to be replenished every three years as they lose vigor over the seasons. Last year we replenished many of our colorful tulips in the Light Plate feature of the garden, resulting in a stunning display this last spring. Visit often to see our bulb display grow and change from the first crocus poking through the snow to the drumstick alliums nodding in the summer breeze.
Tulipa 'Queen of the Night'