Do Tulips Need a Lot of Water? [Watering Guide]

Will tulips grow in the shade

Tulips are lovely, gorgeous, and graceful plants grown in autumn and bloom during spring. But for them to thrive, give tulips very little amount of water because they can sprout fungus or rot if left in still water. 

So do tulips need a lot of water? 

Tulips require relatively little water, and if left in standing water, they will decay or sprout fungus. Plant your bulbs on soil that is well-drained and preferably dry or sandy. During dry spells, irrigate your tulips once a week to keep the soil moist.

How Much Water do Tulips Need?

Since tulips can grow in the shade, they do not require a lot of water. In fact, you won’t have the work of watering them daily. Watering these elegant plants takes the following format:

  • After planting tulips deep in the ground, water the bulb thoroughly to start the cycle of the plant.
  • Check the bulb weekly and water when the rain stops or doesn’t moisten the site.
  • Don’t overwater to maintain a stable moisture level.
  • When the tulips emerge, water if the surrounding soil is dry.

If you are watering tulips planted in containers;

  • After planting, water the container thoroughly and ensure that the topsoil is moist.
  • Check the soil to see if the top-most inch is dry. Do this by inserting the tip of your finger to its length.
  • Add water if it is dry. Next, add more water to moisten the soil. While doing this, ensure that the soil is not soaked too much because tulip bulbs rot if they stay in a wet environment.
  • After the production of flowers, water when half of the top-soil is dry.

Do tulips Need Water Every Day?

This is a burning question for many gardeners or farmers. By now, you might be asking yourself if tulips need water daily or if there’s a time you shouldn’t water these plants. Just like any other plant, water is a must for tulips.

On the contrary, too much of it can cause damages. Tulips don’t necessarily need watering daily. Watering them weekly will enhance successful results. Basically, tulips need 17mm of an inch of water weekly.

But when there’s a long drought, be sure to water them occasionally with fewer amounts of water. And in case you live in a snow area, that’s an advantage. You won’t need to water tulips, but instead, you’ll be required to provide proper drainage to prevent rotting.

Should You Water Tulips in Pots?

Apart from the garden, tulips thrive well in pots too. And when utmost care is given, they bloom to the fullest. However, should you water tulips in pots? Well, if you’ve opted for the pot way, water your tulips while in the pots.

This is essential since they need more water than bulbs in the garden or ground. Additionally, the soil drains more water than the one on the ground. Proper watering will provide an easy and pleasant way to group the bulbs.

Can You Over-Water Tulips?

As a rule, tulip bulbs should be watered thoroughly during plantation. But after administering enough water, you don’t need to water them again until the leaves sprout. Moreover, bulbs that receive too much water are subjected to rotting.

During the growing season, tulips need about 1 inch of water weekly, if during the growing season not from natural rainfall. Therefore, watering tulips also come to site selection. They grow best in zones of 5 to 9 with full sun and partial shade.

Zones that receive more shade may allow the soil should be moist for quite some time after watering. Unfortunately, this can lead to rotten bulbs. For better results, identify low spots in your landscape where water collects and then avoid planting tulips in these areas.

Furthermore, tulips that are exposed to wet conditions for an extended period may develop fungal growth. Apart from that, buds and leaves may also show gray spots and should be destroyed.

Still in watering, sometimes soil that doesn’t drain correctly can become saturated. If your garden soil does not have good drainage,  add organics, such as compost. This will loosen the soil, thus easy drainage. Another option is to grow your bulbs in containers with a well-draining pot mix.

How do you water potted tulips?

If you are not for the ground, plant your tulips in pots. Pots are a unique way to light up your home. After producing brightly colored tulips, your home will not be the same since you can also place or plant them on the patio during spring.

Therefore you need to take care of your tulips by giving them enough moisture. To water potted tulips:

  • Fill a pot measuring 6-inches in diameter with soil. Put the bulbs on top of the soil while their ends are pointed 1 inch beneath the pot ream. Space the bulbs in the pot about 1 inch apart then add soil on top.
  • Water the soil until it is moistened and place the pot in a plastic bag then seal it. Ensure that the spot is 35 to 48 F and store for ten weeks. Water the soil only when it is dry.
  • Take the pot out of the cold storage and set it in a 50 to 70 F location to receive enough sunlight. When the surface dries, water the plants. Keep on adding water until moisture drips from the bottom, then empty the collected water from the drip tray.
  • Lastly, cut off the flowers at the end of blooming. You can dispose of the bulbs or transplant them into the garden after foliage yellows or dies.

Now that you have adequate information about watering your tulips, what should be your expectation after blooming?

What to Do After Tulips Bloom

In most gardens, the perfect tulip flower display is from spring to fall. For tulips to bloom regularly, cut back the flower stalk to the base when the plant withers. For better results, feed the bulbs properly. After that, stop watering once the bulbs stop growing, and cut back foliage once it has turned brown. 

How to Protect Tulips from Animals and Pests

One disadvantage of growing tulips is protecting them from pests and animals. To prevent this:

  • Arrange holes on all sides with wire by installing a tall fence
  • Interplant tulips with the crown imperial plant to help keep animals like deer. 
  • Spray the foliage with a repellant to scare away the dangerous animals.

Frequently asked questions

Do tulips need direct sunlight?

Tulips need partial sunlight to grow. But you have to avoid putting them in direct sunlight since they are photosensitive. Moreover, it can cause wilting when blooming starts.

Do tulips like water?

Tulips are among the unique plants that don’t like water. This is because they require little water to thrive. If exposed to too much water, they can rot or sprout fungus, thus poor yields.

How do you make tulips last longer in water?

For these gorgeous plants to last longer in water, keep the water in the pot, container, vase, or garden topped off; Provide fresh cold water regularly. For better results, change the water regularly to prolong their life.

Can you over-water tulips?

Yes, you can but not frequently. Once the bulbs are watered thoroughly, there will be no need to water them again until the leaves emerge during spring.

Do you water tulip bulbs after planting?

No, tulip bulbs need very little water. Water them once when planting then waits for spring. Unless there’s an extended drought they won’t need too much water.

Do tulips like wet soil?

No, tulips prefer fast-draining soil rather than wet soils. This is because wet soils cause rotting thus fewer yields.

Can tulips survive in water?

Yes, tulips can survive in water. However, the trick is to plant in water just high enough to reach the roots. If not, they, ll rot and die.

Why do tulips grow in water?

Tulips grow in water because they are highly responsive to light. They also tend to move to the light source to be visible by pollinators.


Tulips are a beautiful addition to your garden or farm. What’s more, you can grow gorgeous tulips easily with the right maintenance and attention. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, this flower is an excellent choice.

This is because they bloom when taken care of but can as well die if exposed to excess water. If you are thinking of growing them, provide the right amount of water. In the end, your plants will bloom well and you’ll be able to show some love with a bunch of fresh and bushier tulips.


I love nature and fresh food from the garden. That's why I started this gardening journey and decided to share my experience with the world. So far it has been an amazing journey. I hope you will enjoy reading my gardening journal and never be the same again!

Recent Posts