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  • Writer's pictureJuan Valdez

How to plant tulips in December


One of the perks of living in Sonoma County is our non extreme weather. With the exception of the outlier hot days in the summer and a couple freeze days in the winter of course. Growing is fairly favorable in our pocket of California... I mean world class wine is grown here. This is beneficial for us who may have gotten busy with Thanksgiving, putting up the Christmas lights, making sure the dog is fed, chasing down the children for tracking mud in the house, or making sure the wine here is actually world class, over and over again.


Its through all of this you realize you still need to plant the bulbs.



Do not worry, JV Landscape has got your back.

Whether you stumbled across this article searching for answers on if its possible, or through our tulip holiday package, we welcome and applaud you for taking the time to garden. Our how to plant guide will be at the end of this article. First, I need to answer the question.


Can I still plant bulbs in December?

For most, the answer is yes! You can plant bulbs as late as January, they will however have a delayed bloom time. The ideal time to plant bulbs is in the fall time, around October through early December. This allows bulbs to grow a nice root system to thrive come spring time. If you are in our local market (Sonoma County, California) or location with non aggressive weather such as snow, your chances of success are higher. Do not let this stop you from planting the bulbs, if you live in snow prone area, just move it aside, and follow our how to guide. We cannot guarantee success, but storing bulbs can be quite a challenge as they are not seeds. That however is outside the scope of this article. Now lets get to the good stuff.


What you will need:

  • Bulbs (obviously).

  • Handheld shovel, or anything to make a hole.

Optional during the fall, but almost necessary if planting in December:

  • soil amendment,

  • fertilizer

  • mulch

  • garden gloves (to protect the manicure)

How to plant bulbs in December


Step One:


Site preparation. Bulbs are best planted in groups and about 4-6 inches apart. Visualize placement and grab your shovel.


Dig a hole about 4-6 inches deep, and till up the bottom of the hole so it is nice and loose. If you have soil amendment or fertilizer, this is the time to shine. If you don't, most potted plants have amended soil, as well as garden areas. A small shovel full of this will do.


Place soil and fertilizer (refer to fertilizer instructions) and mix with loose existing soil. Be sure the bottom of the hole is still 4-6 inches deep after added soil.


Step Two:

Plant the bulb. Make sure to place the bulb nose up with the roots down. Fill the hole with good soil if available, otherwise just put the dirt back into the hole.


Once the hole is covered give it a squish to lightly compact the seed and fill any gaps inside the hole if there is any.


Repeat this step for all your bulbs and keep the bulbs about 4-6 inches apart.


Step Three:


Water you bulbs after you finish planting them to activate the germination process. Tulips are hardy and can do without much irrigation, especially if were lucky to get some rain. Be conscious about the plants, and if things get dry, give them some liquid love (water).


Caring for your bulbs during the winter. Although only the first inch of soil freezes during a frost, installing a layer of mulch helps prevent damage. If available, overlay some mulch if planted near some to keep the bulbs cozy until spring time.


Thank you for reading all the way through and we wish you and your garden the best.


JV Landscape is a residential focused company serving Sonoma County for over 30 years.

We offer full service landscape from Installation, Renovation, Maintenance, and Repair (irrigation).

We stow away from commercial jobs as we find a greater passion gardening and serving homeowners in need. Our crew is fully equipped and trained to take care of your yard today.


You can book an estimate by filling out our estimate request form here.


We look forward to hearing from you, and success in your tulip journey. We are honored to have you visit our site, and we wish you happy holidays from everyone at JV Landscape.







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