Tulips are a great flower that can grow in a wide range of environments and still reproduce each year. Because of this quality they are called perennials, a flower that will come back year after year. There are a few ways in which this plant can be reproduced to create even more plants to spring up each year or they can simply be planted like normal and will still come out each year without much maintenance.
Type of Flower
The basic planting of the tulip is the same no matter which way you decide you would like your flowers to reproduce with one difference: the depth that the bulb is planted. For both ways, the soil needs to be prepared by removing rocks and weeds and loosening up the soil. Then add organic material and fertilizer and bone meal. Each bulb should be planted about 6 to 8 inches apart. The one major difference is if you wish to have the original bulb reproduce new bulbs, then the original bulb should be planted about 3 inches deep. If you wish to have the same flower reproduce each year without maintenance, then plant the bulb about 8 inches deep.
When the bulb is planted deeper, it is less likely to try to produce bulbettes, similar to offspring of the flower. When the tulip produces these bulbettes, it takes all the energy from the main bulb, making it less likely to flower the next year since its nutrients are taken away. Also keep in mind if the tulip begins in a pot, it is less likely to reproduce the next year, so it is best to take the bulb out after it flowers and plant it into the ground before summertime hits. This way the bulb can regenerate itself over the winter, so next year it will come back out in bloom. When replanting the bulb, cut away any extra bulbettes. If the small bulbettes are left, the main bulb will not flower the next year and the small bulbettes will take two to three years to flower.
With shallow planting, the main bulb will produce the bulbettes that can be dug up and split off the main plant and then replanted elsewhere to then reproduce. Each year when the tulip flowers and then dies off, the energy is then sent downward to the main bulb to store energy and produce the bulbettes. The tulip will produce about two to three bulbettes per year. After the flower has died, wait about a month and a half to then dig up the bulbettes to then either store in a cold dry place or replant in another location. Keep in mind they will probably not produce a flower the next year, but the year after.
After the tulip flowers and then dies off, if you wish to have the flower reproduce the bulbettes or reproduce on its own, then the foliage should be left, but the old head for the flowers should be cut off. If left the plant will send wasted energy and nutrients to the head to produce seeds. If you would like the seeds to be produced, then leave the heads and after about three weeks, you'll see a swelling on the stem where the flower was. Cut this swelling and remove the seeds, then plant the seeds to grow in another location. Keep in mind these will take longer to reproduce.