'Rarely needs water': How to take care of tulips and protect them from pests


Tulips are beautiful flowers that can be bought freshly cut from shops or grown from bulbs. Express.co.uk spoke William Mitchell, gardening expert and owner of Sutton Manor Nursery in Dartford, about how to take care of already-flowered tulips, as well as how to plant them.

William said: “Tulips are a low maintenance flower, and for that reason they rarely need water.

“I would recommend not watering them at all if the weather is wet.

“If the weather is dry then I would suggest watering once planted and then when they first sprout leaves.”

Like many plants and flowers, tulips “grow best” in full sunlight, William noted.

READ MORE: Gardening: Monty Don shares ‘the best way’ to deadhead tulips

“They thrive in warm weather, not hot,” he said.

“Temperatures of around 21 degrees are where tulips thrive.

“If the weather is particularly windy, make sure your tulips are shielded.”

To do this, gardeners could make homemade, mini cloches using plastic drink bottles.


Simply cut the top and bottom of the bottle before placing it around the flower.

This method should also protect tulips from chilly temperatures.

However, it is recommended that gardeners remove these cloches each morning to ensure the air inside does not overheat and damage the flowers.

Tulips must also be protected by pests, William said.

He explained: “Tulips are a favourite for pests. Squirrels are particularly drawn to them.

“To try and deter these pests, plant daffodils alongside the tulips as animals typically avoid eating them.”

William went on to say that “unfortunately, tulips are prone to fungal diseases”.

“To prevent such diseases, carefully look over bulbs before purchasing and check for blemishes or over discolouration and avoid bulbs with these,” he advised.

Although gardeners can plant tulip seeds at any time of year, it is best to do so when temperatures are colder, according to William.

He said: “You should plant tulips from seeds in the autumn when the weather is much colder.

“You should lightly cover them in moist soil and then keep them in a cold frame throughout the spring and summer months.

“Planting tulip seeds is a timely process, it can actually take up to five years to develop into a bulb,” the gardening expert added.


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