Tulips are a favorite of every gardener around the globe. However, since these plants have specific growth requirements, not all regions and US states can grow them as perennials. Sunshine State gardening enthusiasts and residents might ask, ‘do tulips grow in Florida?’
The correct answer is no since these plants need to be exposed to cold climates for a period, which is something Florida doesn’t have. However, if you’re determined to grow these familiar egg cup-shaped blooms in bright colors then follow our short guide below.
Can I Grow Tulips in Florida?
The trick to growing tulips in Florida is to treat them as very short-lived annuals.
Florida is a state in the US that has short and warm winter seasons, and hot sunny days throughout the year. The region actually can accommodate a lot of bulbous plants because of its warm climate, but it somehow doesn’t work specifically with tulips.
While it’s true that tulips are of the bulbous variety, they require a period of cold to settle in a dormant state. You can trick them to think that the environment is cold by putting them in a refrigerator (more on this later), but they are not likely to come back once they’re planted on the ground.
It may seem a waste of time to plant tulips knowing they won’t come back next year, but some Florida gardeners and tulip enthusiasts seem to think otherwise. The sight of the cup-shaped flowers in pink, yellow, red, and other colors will look out of place in Florida, but they serve as amazing temporary landscape features nonetheless.
When Should I Plant Tulips in Florida?
It takes a bit of careful planning and preparation to plant tulips and see them grow in Florida. The time or season when you can plant them depends on your region. If you’re in USDA zone 10 then it’s recommended that you plant anywhere from late December through early January, while in zone 8 the perfect time would be from November to early December.
How to Grow Tulips in Florida
Preparing for tulips should be done 8 weeks before the optimal planting date. Those in zone 11 won’t have much success in growing these plants as the minimum temperature is simply too high for them to thrive.
If you’re looking for the best tulip species to grow in the Sunny State, then you should pick Single and Darwin Hybrids.
Beforehand, put the bulbs in a paper bag and store them in the refrigerator for about 6 to 8 weeks. Be careful to separate them from fruits as it can cause the bulbs to rot prematurely.
During the planting season, choose an area in your yard or garden that gets plenty of sunlight. Use well-draining soil and prepare about four inches of mulch or organic material. The best ones to add are manure, compost, peat, or a combination of the three. You can put them in a flower bed or a raised platform to allow excess water to drain.
Carefully put the bulbs about five inches deep. Observe an 8-inch space between the plants. Cover the holes fully and then apply the compost or mulch. You should also take care of any weeds in the immediate area and pull them out along with their roots.
Water them in, cross your fingers and hope they will grow and bloom come springtime.
What Happens If I Plant Tulips in Florida?
Florida doesn’t have the cold temperature that’s crucial to the growth cycle of tulips. You can simulate frost by putting the bulbs in the refrigerator, but once they’re planted they likely won’t bloom again after the first season.
One way to keep tulips is to have them around as an annual. This means you plant the bulbs knowing they’re only good for that season. If they bloom then you’re treated to a show-stopping display of colors that are marvelous to watch.
Digging them up and putting them back in the refrigerator after a season won’t work. You can enjoy the bloom colors a bit longer by cutting the flower by the stem and putting them in a vase. Next season, if you’re still interested in growing tulips you can purchase bulbs and start over.
Related Article: How long do Tulip Bulbs Last?