Whether or not one should dig up Tulip bulbs after they bloom depends on both the climate zone in which they are grown as well as personal preference. Tulips can perennialize well in zones 3-8, but in warmer climates the environment simply may not be hospitable enough for bulbs to survive in the ground.
Many gardeners in these locations choose to simply discard their bulbs after each season, seeing it not as a burden but as a reason to try out something new the following year. However, for those who strongly desire another year, the following steps are necessary:
- Approximately three weeks after bloom, cut the flower short. This will allow the energy collected from the sun to go into strengthening the bulb (as opposed to flower).
- Six to eight weeks later, dig the bulbs out of the ground and store in a chilled environment (40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit), replicating the cool, dark conditions that the bulbs would have in their preferred climate.
- Eight to ten weeks later the bulbs will ready for re-planting. Use judgment on whether the outdoor temperatures are suitable.