Growing Tulips in Warmer Climates

Tulips are showy flowers that are classified as perennial bulbs, but they can be somewhat tricky to grow in warmer climates.  Not impossible, but growing tulips in warm climates is a challenge for sure.

Growing Tulips in warmer hardiness zones can be challenging but it is possible. Find out how:

Tips for Growing Tulips when the Temperatures are Warm.

Tulips are considered a true bulb.  Not all flowering bulbs are actually a bulb. See my article on flower bulbs to help tell the difference between bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers.

No perennial quite ushers in the spring months in such a dramatic way as a bed of tulips, so it is worth going the extra mile to have them growing.Garden bed with tulips growing

Most tulips like to have at least 12-14 weeks of a “cold period” to develop their beautiful flowers.  Normally, nature will give this cold period by having the temperatures down and stay below 55 degrees for an extended period.

In warm climates where the soil temperature doesn’t drop for long enough below 55 degrees, you may need to  “fool the bulb” into thinking they’ve gone through a this cold period.

Here are some tricks for growing tulips when the temps are warmer:

  • Store your tulip bulbs in your kitchen refrigerator.  Give them 6 to 16 weeks in a ventilated paper bag. Do not store them next to fruit, especially apples, all ripening fruit is giving off ethylene gas what will kill/damage the flower inside the bulb.
  • After the cold period, take them directly from the fridge and be sure to plant the tulips in the coolest part of the year
  • Instead of fun sun, try planting them in a part of the garden that has some partial or full shade.
  • Plant them 6 to 8 inches deep and mulch heavily
  • You can also keep the soil temperature down by regular watering so that the soil is evenly moist.

General tulip care:growing tulips

  • Deadhead the tulips after they flower
  • Let the foliage yellow for about 6 weeks before removing it. This gives it nourishment for next years flowers.
  • Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer weekly for 3 or 4 weeks after flowering
  • Stop watering the bulbs after all the leaves are gone and let the ground dry out. The plant is no longer adding nourishment to the bulbs at this time, and the tulips need a dry period during the summer months.
  • Tulip flowers are nyctinastic. They open and close at night and when it rains, to protect the reproductive parts of the plant.

For more gardening tips, please visit my Facebook Gardening page.

Have you had luck growing tulips in a warm climate?  Please leave your comments below.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  9 comments for “Growing Tulips in Warmer Climates

  1. I flash for food
    05/21/2013 at 3:22 pm

    Meg wanted tulips in TN quite about a decade ago. This was when she was in her dark purple/black phase. She was about 12 Or 13 I think. She picked out black and purple bulbs and stuck them in the ground with no instruction as I had no clue to give her. We had an enjoyable Sping watching them bloom.

    I went back to visit her last year and was shocked to see them in full bloom. I guess it gets cool enough there for them? Variety? Or maybe it’s just my Meg. Like you, everything and everyone blooms around her.

    • admin
      05/21/2013 at 6:49 pm

      what a sweet comment. Thanks Angie!

  2. REIS
    09/05/2013 at 12:28 am

    hi there,
    i live in a warm climate, current my tulip bulbs are receiving cold treats. what should i do next??

    • admin
      09/05/2013 at 7:57 am

      I don’t do anything special to my tulips other than protecting them from critters who might dig them up.

      They should come back next spring unless you have a very very warm climate. They do like to have it at least someone cool in the winter.

      They can take frozen ground easily. My mother lives in Maine and her tulips come back each year.


  3. Rizky
    11/21/2017 at 6:39 pm

    hello.. I’m from Indonesia. as we know, Indonesia has tropical climate which only have 2 seasons (wet and dry) and I want to grow tulips, so how is it?

    • Carol
      11/22/2017 at 12:25 pm

      I’m not sure how cold temperatures get in Indonesia. The main thing that tulips need is a long cold period after they are planted to get them to bloom. In warmer climates, growing tulips is more of a challenge. I would guess that your wet season is the cooler season, so I would try planting them then. Carol

  4. Saira Jahangir
    12/31/2018 at 3:31 am

    Two years back, i have planted 12 bulbs of tulips but get only one red flower, I didn’t have any idea of planting and caring the tulips but i was happy to get one tulip flower now this year i have again planted 6 bulbs with little idea if handling them, now praying to get more flowers in this spring, by the way i am from Pakistan.

    • Carol
      01/03/2019 at 6:08 pm

      Hi Saira. One thing that I have found is that moles and squirrels LOVE the taste of tulip bulbs. I planted over 100 and had a magnificent show the first few years. Then the critters found them and they ate them all. No tulips for me this year! Carol

  5. 12/28/2019 at 4:33 am

    thank you for giving me wonderful information

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