How To Dig, Divide, and Transplant Tulips

Tulips are beautiful flowers that should be a part of everyone’s landscape. But when they start to get too big for their location or begin to get overcrowded, how do you dig, divide, and transplant your tulips to another location? The answer is quite simple.

Tulips bloom in the spring. They are a sure sign that winter is finally over and warmer days are ahead. During this spring blooming season you do not want to move your tulips. Let them show off and enjoy their presence in your yard. After the tulip bloom, the flower petals will drop off first followed by the stems and leaves. Know when to cut back your tulips to make sure you allow them to get as much sun as possible. You don’t want to move your tulips until the foliage has completely died back.

When To Dig Tulips

Once the foliage has completely died back it is OK to dig up your tulip bulbs. Moving them before this can have a huge impact on the health of the bulbs, so don’t do it. Tulips need sun to store enough energy in the bulbs for next year.

Dig carefully in an area bigger than your last display to locate the remove the tulip bulbs. Unlike the day you planted your bulbs from the store, they will now have more roots, so you will need to dig deeper than you may be thinking so that you do not cut through the roots. Lift the bulbs and soil carefully out of the hole and shake the dirt that is not attached back into the hole.

How To Divide Tulips

Now that you can see your bulbs and roots you can carefully separate the bulbs from one another. Many will already be separated. Some will be very close together and need a gentle tug to get them apart. Others may seem connected at the hip. If this is the case, why not just leave them together?

How To Transplant Tulips

Now that you have your bulbs separated you can transplant the bulbs to a new spot. Tulips should be planted at a depth of 6-10 inches, so start by preparing the new planting site by removing 8 inches or more of soil and make sure the soil is loose for another 2-3 inches below that. Now is the time to add some tulip or bulb fertilizer to your site before you plant the bulbs. Carefully place the bulbs in the new spot and cover them with soil. Unless you don’t want them at the old site anymore, don’t forget to re-plant your old spot as well, using fertilizer there also. Now water both the old and new locations well and you’re done.

The best time to do this is in late summer or early fall. After you have transplanted your tulips keep watering that spot for a few weeks unless you have received sufficient rain. This will help the roots to grow through the fall and prepare your tulips for the long winter.

Done properly, your transplanted tulips will bloom next year without skipping a beat.