Will tulips grow in the shade? [Planting Guide]

Will tulips grow in the shade

I love the bright blooming colors of Tulips. For sure, their flower forms and rainbow of colors make my garden blossom. I wondered if they could grow in the shade since many trees surround my home. Find out what I discovered about this.

Will tulips grow in shade? Yes. Tulips can grow in the shade and produce beautiful flowers during their blossoming season. While they need some decent amount of sunshine, they also need some protection from heat. That’s why a partial shade might be ideal for them. Besides a moderate amount of sun, they also need soft and moist soil. Tulips blossom at the end of April and the beginning of May.

During early spring, tulips can make your home brighter. You will notice them emerging from the ground starting from March. Should there be trivial winter weather, they might experience premature growth. However, this won’t be so dangerous because tulips can be tolerant to cold temperatures.

Growth requirements of Tulips under a shade

If you choose to grow tulips under a shade, here’s what you need to observe while planting it.


Now that you are planting tulips in the shade, you need to choose the best location with optimal conditions. Tulips can grow in partial shade and well-drained soil. Ensure that the place gets some partial sunlight since the total shade can cause the plants to rot.

 It would be great if you choose an area like under a tree. If the tree has too much shade, you can prune it to allow some sunlight to the location. It should be an area that receives partial sunlight for at least six hours daily.

The shade that your tree offers to this plant helps the tulip bulbs to mature appropriately. It also helps them store the energy they need for the next season.

Soil preparation

Tulips need soil that is well aerated and has good drainage. Otherwise, if the soil is too wet, they tend to rot. You need to dig the area to make the soil loose. It should be about 30cm feet in depth. Consider adding dried manure or compost in the soil.

 You can also add granular fertilizer 5-10-10 to help in the growth of the bulb. Mix the soil thoroughly after adding these components just the way you do to cake butter. Finally, consider checking the level of acidity of the soil. Tulips can do well on soil with a PH level of 5-7. They thrive under alkaline conditions.

If you notice that your soil is acidic, try to add lime, which will neutralize the soil. You might also want to add organic manure like that from chicken. This offers an excellent environment for the growth of tulip.


You need to avoid planting tulips in the lawn as they can be quite hard to maintain thee. Try planting them in mulched beds under a tree. Remember to ensure that the soils are well-drained and have organic manure.

 If you are planting tulips in warm regions, dig them up only after the foliage dies every year. Let them pre-chill in the refrigerator before replanting them again during the fall.

When to plant tulips

You don’t need to plant tulips until October or November. Tulips start developing roots, and the cold temperature during this season helps to eliminate fungal and viral diseases in the soil. Remember, such fungal infections can infect bulbs.

When you plant them during this season, their roots will be free from diseases. Try to plant the tulips one month before the beginning of the first frost. You should also make sure that the soil temperature remains below 15.5 Celsius.

How to plant tulips in the shade

Planting tulips is easy, so long as you do it in the right way. You can plant them in pots, window boxes, and even in beds. Below is a guide on how to do it.

Growing tulips from seeds

Tulips are commonly grown from bulbs. That’s the simplest way to grow them. However, if you want, you can also grow them from seeds. The process may take longer since tulips take 4-6 years after being sown before they start blooming. Here’s what to do if you are going to plant them from seeds.

  • Take tulip seeds and put them in a plastic bag that has some moistened peat moss.
  • Put the plastic bag in a refrigerator and let it stay there for 90 days. This helps it to get used to winter weather conditions.
  • After 90 days, remove those seeds from the freezer and separate any moldy seeds.
  • Take a third part of sand and mix it with loamy potting soil. You can then put that mixture in the bottom of a cold frame.
  • Propagate the seeds on the topsoil as you barely cover them. Just apply a dusting of soil.
  • Moisturize the seeds with an inch of water every week to help them have enough moisture.
  • Allow the tulips to grow for one year and six months from the time you sow them. These seeds will grow into seedlings after 6-8 months of sowing.
  • Plant them during the next fall season on well-drained soil.


Tulip seeds take quite a long time to be ready for transplanting. You can get the bulbs and grow them instead.

Growing tulip bulbs

If you had propagated tulips seeds, you could now transplant the bulbs. However, it would be easy if you just bought the bulbs and plant them instead.

  • Find healthy tulip bulbs and separate the ones with mold or look damaged.
  • As you plant them, consider spacing them with leaving a gap between 6-8 inches.
  • Plant the number of bulbs according to the size of your space on that shade
  • Consider planting the bulbs at a depth that is thrice their height.
  •  Dig deeper so that the soil can be lose and enhance better drainage. You can as well create raised beds to make it easier. If the bulb is big, the hole needs to be deeper.
  • You should as well make sure that the pointy part of the bulb faces upwards. Next is to cover the soil and press it down. Moisturize it gently to activate growth.


Should you choose to plant perennial tulips, ensure that you feed them in case you plant them during autumn. However, bulbs are always better since they have all the nutrients needed for a year, thanks to their complete storage system.

How to encourage re-flowering

Most types of tulips can be replaced after one year because they are unlikely to grow after that. So how can you encourage re-flowering? Once the tulips flower, lift their bulbs and dry them. Do this before replanting.

Consider drying them for 24 hours when lifting them. You can then store them in a hessian bag or a paper bag for 24 hours. Don’t use plastic. Do this when the foliage turns yellow, which is six weeks after flowering.

You can lift them before, only if you place trays in before discoloration. You can also remove any bulbs that look damaged or discolored.

Harvesting tulips

You have worked hard to ensure that your tulips grow to maturity. Now it’s time to harvest them. Where should you start? Let’s find out.

Harvest at the right time

The right time to harvest tulips is during the beginning of spring. It’s the same time as when they began to grow. You can also harvest tulip bulbs if you would love to transplant them.

Observe tulip growth during early spring

Early spring is the right time for harvesting tulips. During this time, you need to watch their growth. If you notice the bulbs are poking through the ground, get ready to harvest them. Immediately the tulips emerge, take great care of them for the best results.

Water the tulips immediately you see new growth

Always water the tulips regularly immediately they begin to appear from the ground. This makes them mature to healthy plants. You can give them two inches of water every week.

Watching the advanced bud stage

You should harvest your tulips during the advanced bud stage. The blossoms are always closed at this stage, but the stems are ever raised out of the soil while the flowers are dark in color.

Picking your tulips

This is also another vital plant at the end of this journey.

If you are harvesting flowers, cut them by the stem. As you cut the central stem, leave the leaves in the ground. If you still need flowers next year, avoid removing the bulb.

If you need to harvest bulb, pull the tulips upward from the soil. Use a pair of garden shears to cut them. However, if you plan to produce tulips next year, avoid doing this.

You can then wrap the tulips on a floral paper to keep the stems straight. Place them in water and let them stay for a few hours for proper stem growth. You can trim the tulips using garden shears by cutting about 6com of each tulip.

Frequently asked questions

Will tulips grow in shade?

Yes. Tulips will grow in the shade if you plant them in partial shade and well-drained soil. So long as the soil has an alkaline PH level, this plant will grow and blossom. Remember to dig the soil well so that it may be soft and well aerated.

Do tulips regrow after cutting?

Yes. It’s interesting to note that tulips can grow again once you cut them. They can grow up to one inch or become taller than that. Tulips always bend towards the light, so ensure that they partial shade distributes light evenly for them to regrow.

Do tulips multiply?

Yes. Tulips form clumps after multiplying and grow big every year. This process is referred to as naturalizing.

Final thoughts

You need to plant tulips during October or November because they need to grow under cold temperatures. I don’t vouch for planting them in other months because they might suffer from fungal infections and viruses.

 I tried growing tulips under partial shade, and they grew. I believe you can also grow them under these conditions.

Have you ever grown tulips under partial shade?


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!

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