November is the ideal time to plant tulip bulbs, says AG gardening editor Kris Collins

While spring flowering bulbs have been available to buy since the end of August, tulips are best left until November for planting. This prevents problems with tulip fire disease, a soil-borne fungus that can develop in the lingering warmth of autumn. By planting closer to Christmas soils are too cold for the fungus to spread.

For a winning spring container display of tulips follow the planting steps below.


Step 1) Fill the bottom of your chosen (winter proof) pot with a layer of crocks for good drainage.

Step 2) Add a layer of bulb compost so that bulbs will sit at their required depth, then place bulbs.

Step 3) Once bulbs are set (point end up), cover with compost without disturbing the layout.

Step 4) Gently firm down the compost to create a level surface and improve bulb to compost contact.

Step 5) Retain moisture and reduce weed establishment by covering the surface with gravel or similar.

Step 6) Water in and site in light shade to keep things cool over winter. Move into warmer sun in spring.