The next few weeks are an important time for planting tulips, hyacinths and other bulbs that have been taking up room in your refrigerator. Best results are usually obtained when prechilled tulip and hyacinth bulbs are planted into the garden in late December or early January as the soil may stay relatively warm until late December. Planting these pre-chilled bulbs in a soil that is still too warm can cancel the chilling process and lead to the bulbs blooming poorly.
Also, bulbs planted earlier bloom earlier – as early as February – and the weather is so unsettled at that time that the flowers may be more likely to be ruined by freezes and storms. Tulips and hyacinths planted over the next few weeks generally bloom in March and early April when the weather is more likely to be favorable.
Plant tulip and hyacinth bulbs in sunny to partly shaded areas that have good drainage. The bulbs should be planted into well-prepared beds that have been generously amended with organic matter and a light application of general-purpose fertilizer. Here in Louisiana we generally do not plant spring-flowering bulbs as deeply as is recommended for areas farther north. Tulips and hyacinths are planted about 5 inches deep, spaced about 3 or 4 inches apart.