Posted: 09/04/2013 at 19:07
I don't know why the Tulips you buy don't flower, because a bulb is pretty much guaranteed to flower in its first year. All the work has been done for you, provided the supplier is decent.
After flowering, the bulb needs six weeks of food and water to make a new flower for the following year. It's leaves will die down and the bulb will sit dormant until next year.
Now, bulbs will also multiply in the ground if left alone, so some years, you will see leaves but no flowers among others perhaps that are flowering and these are the baby bulbs doing their thing until they are fully grown and able to flower, which usually takes three years which is why some people treat bulbs, especially Tulips, as throw aways.
Also, Tulips do need sunshine to replenish after flowering, so make sure you plant them somewhere sunny-ish or it could affect flowering rates. Tulips hate to sit in freezing wet soil and will also rot over winter, which might explain you loses some years. So plant with lots of grit to keep them coming up year after year