Monty Don warns gardeners to ‘get on’ with planting tulips

This Morning: Tips on how to keep Tulips from drooping

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Tulips are extremely versatile and can be grown in borders, rock gardens as well as containers. Although typically planted in autumn, January is the last month gardeners can guarantee a gorgeous display in spring. Sharing advice in his latest blog post, Monty Don shared top tips when it comes to growing the flower.

Monty wrote: “It is not too late to plant tulips – but you really do need to get on with it. Tulips planted now might flower a little later than those planted in November, but they will make a perfectly good display.

“If intending to leave them in the ground, plant as deeply as you can, at least four inches.”

Monty said if you just want a “good show” this year, tulips can be popped an inch or two into the topsoil which will be fine for this spring.

The gardening expert added: “When planting in a container, make sure that they have good drainage because although they are completely hardly too cold, the biggest enemy is rotting in damp soil.”

If gardeners are planning to grow tulips this year, this job needs to be done by the middle of the month at the latest.”

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), said bulbs should be spaced out at least twice their width apart, and at a depth of two to three times their height and the pointed end of the bulb should be uppermost.

“When planting border tulips in containers, create a potting compost by mixing three-parts multipurpose compost to one part grit.

“Next, roughly measure the height of two or three bulbs laid end-to-end and then fill your container so that this length is the space between the compost in the bottom and the top edge of the rim.

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“When the compost is the right level, place the bulbs on top so there is about a finger’s-width between each bulb.

“Cover the bulbs with the remaining compost and firm, leaving around 2.5cm below the rim.”

If the compost appears sodden during wet weather, gardeners should immediately move them temporarily to a sheltered position near a fence or wall.

They could also be placed in an unheated greenhouse. Once dried out, they can be returned to their original positions. From February onwards, or once their leaves appear if you have planted them later, keep them watered.

According to the RHS, a shortage of water can cause poor development or a shortening of the flowering period.

If planting tulips in beds and borders, they don’t usually need watering if there is sufficient rain to keep the ground damp, which there usually is during the winter months.

As well as planting tulip bulbs, Monty also recommended mulching. He wrote: “The best time to put down a mulch is whenever you get round to do it, because the pros of a good organic mulch, always outweigh any cons such as suppressing little treasure seedings.”

The gardening pro said the benefits of mulch include weed suppression, moisture retention, improved soil structure and fertility.

Monty added: “We do try and mulch all our borders in January because this gives time in autumn for the borders to die back gracefully and allow birds to eat all seeds and berries.

“It is also early enough not to suppress the growth of bulbs such as alliums and tulips that start to appear by the end of February.

“Whenever you mulch the same rules apply, use a well-rotted organic material such as mushroom compost, garden compost or bark chips and be generous with it.”

Gardeners should spread the mulch around all existing plants at least two inches thick. Monty said the thicker the mulch, the “better” it will do its work because it is more effective.

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