Although tulips are a perennial from a botanical perspective, many centuries of hybridizing means that the bulb’s ability to come back year after year has weakened. Therefore, many gardeners treat them as annuals, planting new bulbs every autumn.
Tulips like full sun or partial shade, they don’t like a lot of heat and hate to have wet feet. Soil must be well draining and fertile, so add lots of compost. Plant the bulbs 6” or so deep. (You can add a bulb booster fertilizer at this time if you want, but it is not necessary). Planting Tulip bulbs side by side like in an egg carton will give you a good visual display come Spring. However, if you like a more whimsical look, plant them 4”-6” apart. Never deliberately water a bulb bed unless in a drought. Wet soil leads to fungus and disease and can rot bulbs. But keep in mind that the bulbs will need regular moisture, which is normally accomplished by Fall and Winter rains and snow. If the ground is too dry in the Spring when the leaves push through the ground, make sure to water them. A dry Spring will lead to stunted growth.
Tulips make a great cut flower if picked when the bud is just starting to show colour. Most of today’s varieties do not make good perennials, so cutting the entire length of the stem (including some leaves) is best for a bouquet. Should you wish to try to keep them as perennials, cut only the bloom from the top once it has finished. Do not cut the leaves as they are needed to regenerate the bulb. For the most success in having them come back the next year, fertilize well in the Fall.