Plant This Tulip Variety During Fall For A Stunning Springtime Treat

Plant This Tulip Variety During Fall For A Stunning Springtime Treat

Not everything needs to be a competition, but if you want to have the most amazing tulips in your neighborhood, why not aim for the best? Ice cream tulips are a delightful addition to your flower beds in spring. These beautiful flowers look like a bowl of vanilla ice cream or a fruity sorbet topped with whipped cream. They are a type of double tulip, which means they have fluffy-looking petals that resemble peonies more than tulips.

Ice cream tulips bloom in late spring, as the weather starts to warm up and you start to crave frozen treats to cool down. Planting them in the fall is ideal, as it allows the tulip bulbs to be exposed to the cold so they can sprout in spring. These flowers will last for a few years, so it’s important to protect them from freezing temperatures. Choose a spot where you’ll be happy to keep them for a while.

How to plant an ice cream tulip

ice cream tulips

Flying object/Shutterstock

Ice cream tulips need planting in the fall to bloom in the spring. This way, the bulbs will have plenty of time to establish roots and survive winter. If you plant too early in the season, you may give the bulbs too much time to grow and cause them to sprout in fall, but freezing temperatures will kill them. Learn when you can plant tulips in your area to get it just right for successful spring flowers.

Choose a location that will receive full sun exposure. The soil should be on the sandy side so it will easily drain and not clump together and cause puddling. You can add up to 1 foot of soil in puddle-prone areas to create better drainage. Add bulb fertilizer to the soil and plant the bulb at least three times its height, which should be 4 to 5 inches deep. If your soil is super sandy, plant it a little deeper. Keep your bulbs planted at the same depth since it will affect the height of the blooms. Of course, you can stagger the depths slightly if you don’t want your flowers at the same heights. You can plant multiple bulbs in one hole as long as you keep them at least 3 inches apart. Keep the soil moist until the first freeze since this is when the roots will stop growing. Add up to 3 inches of mulch to protect the bulbs from freezing temperatures.

Ice cream tulips are versatile in the garden

ice cream tulip among red tulips


These delicious-looking tulips typically grow to be 12 to 16 inches tall and spread up to 6 inches wide. They don’t take up too much space in the garden, making them easy to incorporate into your landscape. Plant them in groups if you want a sea of fluffy tops, or space them out so individual flowers can steal the show. Pay attention to plant heights so you don’t accidentally cover your tulips up with a taller plant. Utilize low-laying plants in a way that will complement the tulips. Ice cream tulips also grow well in containers, so you can use them as focal points on your patio or balcony if you have limited space.

One thing to remember about tulips is that their foliage won’t die back until the summer. Perennial plants need to live their entire life cycle for longevity. Cutting back tulip foliage after blooming to make room for other plants could reduce bloom size next year. Plant your tulips somewhere you won’t mind having their greenery around until as late as July in some areas. Once the foliage turns brown, you can cut them back and focus on fall-blooming flowers.

✿ Read More About Flowers.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.