When to Plant Tulip Bulbs in New York? (Best Time)

Written by

William Golder


Dorian Goodwin

when to plant tulip bulbs in new york

Tulips prefer chilly climates, making them ideal for planting during cold periods. Lucky for those living in the Big Apple, as these flowers bloom very beautifully due to the region’s naturally cool climate.

However, since the state is within USDA zones 3-7, the time for planting tulips would depend on where you live. But ideally, you can grow them in September or October or sow indoors in the spring.

Read more about when to plant tulip bulbs in New York!

Best Time to Plant Tulip Bulbs in New York

1. Plant in September through October for spring-blooming tulip bulbs

Spring-blooming bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and irises thrive in colder climates rather than warm, tropical ones because they need chilling temperatures of around 40℉ for 12 to 16 weeks.

For this reason, it is ideal to grow in a period of cold weather, such as during autumn, 6 to 8 weeks before and up until your first frost date, when the soil is still workable.

In general, you can plant your tulips and daffodil bulbs in New York around September or October in the fall.

That is because, in Northern parts of the state, your first chance of frost starts around September, while in the South, winter cold will arrive in September or October.

Here is the table where you can find the estimated first frost of the various zones of New York:

Zone First Frost Date
Zone 3 September 8
Zone 4 September 21
Zone 5 October 13
Zone 6 October 17
Zone 7 October 29

This planting schedule is perfect for fulfilling tulips’ chill-hour requirements. Growing them too early, when the soil temperature is higher, will only encourage decay problems and force them to bloom at a suboptimal time.

2. Plant tulip bulbs indoors in the spring.


When should tulip bulbs be planted when fall is over? Growing summer blooming bulbs is impossible in this case, as tulip plants are dormant under hot weather. But what about spring?

Since springtime climate in NY is warm, it will be challenging for gardeners to grow this type of flower because of its constant need for chilly temperatures of at least 14 weeks to flourish.

Therefore, one way we can help them bloom under the warmer temperatures of spring is to mimic the cold temperatures of winter by placing them inside the refrigerator for around 14 weeks.

Here are some tips on how to cultivate tulips indoors:

  1. Plant tulip bulbs in 6 x 6-inch pots with drainage holes.
  2. Apply some water to the potting soil after planting and cover the bulbs with plastic containing multiple holes before placing them in the fridge. The fridge should have a temperature of 35 to 48℉.
  3. Once stratification is complete, move the tulips next to a window in spring.

Growing Tulip Bulbs in New York

1. Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in New York

  • Acropolis


This tulip variety is ideal for planting in New York because it grows well in zones 3-8. Therefore, even if you are in zone 7, where the climate is warmer, the Acropolis variety will still thrive.

  • Candy Prince


Candy Prince tulips are also perfect choices for planting in the state because they are adaptable to various climates, including temperatures as low as in zone 3.

These tulips bloom in New York around early to mid-spring. They can grow up to 2 feet and possess a lighter shade of purple, excellent for adding beauty to your garden.

  • Carnival De Nice


This tulip type thrives best in New York and can handle various climates. But what makes them most interesting is their white-colored petals with a tint of red shade. They bloom in late spring and can flourish well under full sun.

2. Tips for successful tulip bulb planting in New York (Dos and Don’ts)


  1. Plant tulip bulbs in loose or loamy soil with good drainage for ideal growth. Do not let them get doused with too much water, as they may suffer from rot.
  2. Sow at least nine bulbs per square foot to guarantee a more attractive look. But ensure to give the tulips a distance of 3 inches for healthy growth.
  3. Grow tulips in full sun to encourage proper development. But do not let them sit under the heat of the outdoors when temperatures are extremely high, which is common in zone 7 or higher.
  4. Do not transplant tulips when they are fully blooming in spring. Do it in either summer or fall when they are not actively producing blossoms. It will give them enough time to prepare for winter and encourage flower growth the following year.
  5. Fertilize your tulips once seedlings emerge in early spring, or spread organic matter as an alternative.
  6. Keep the soil moist to help prolong the tulip’s life.
  7. Cut the dead flower heads after blooming time to encourage bulb growth in the next planting season.

How Long Do Tulip Bulbs Last?

Tulips lifespan is approximately 2 to 5 years. Growing them at the right time and giving them the proper care can help prolong their stay.


Many factors affect the ideal growth of tulips, but proper planting time is the key to success in having full-bloomed tulips by spring or summer. Sow them in the fall to satisfy their chill-hour requirements if possible.

However, if you missed the fall window, consider stratifying the bulbs in the fridge instead. Hopefully, you enjoyed learning about when to plant tulip bulbs in New York from this post.

Follow the planting guide and tips above to have excellent tulip growth!

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