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09/04/2013 at 18:47
Hi all. I'm getting steadily more and more excited with the garden at the moment. My fritallaries are starting to open and my hostas are just starting to show signs of life. I have also noticed my first tulip has opened this morning so the weather is gradually improving ! But speaking of tulips I have various clumps around the garden that are just sprouting leaves and no flower head. How can I cure this as I seem to buy new tulips every year and never normally get more than two showings from them.
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

09/04/2013 at 19:15
Thanks wintersong. It's not the new tulips I buy, they always flower, it's just tulips i have had for a couple of years in different places. I buy new ones yearly but I would just like the older types to come through as well. Maybe lifting them after spring and seeing what's happening will do the trick. As you say maybe they are putting all their energy into making new bulbs

As for throwing them away some of the bulbs I've bought have been quite expensive and I'd of thought I'd get more than one season out of them !!!
09/04/2013 at 20:29

I can't keep tulips, sometimes they don't even do the first year. I suspect mice or voles. Crocuses don't do much better

09/04/2013 at 21:18

Planting in pots is a good solution Danny especially the baskets for pond plants as you can lift them and give them some tlc when they're finished. Drainage is really important so Wintersong is bang on about that.

Nut- I think you'r eprobably right about the mice. They can be a real nuisance. 

09/04/2013 at 21:38

Tulips really do need a period of hot ripening. In many ways you are better off lifting them once all the leaves have gone and drying them off and keeping warm (but not sweltering) and replanting in October.

09/04/2013 at 21:49

We're undermined with small furry things here. Need a few owls but haven't heard much from them lately Fairygirl.

09/04/2013 at 22:00
Berghill wrote (see)

Tulips really do need a period of hot ripening. In many ways you are better off lifting them once all the leaves have gone and drying them off and keeping warm (but not sweltering) and replanting in October.


This is a great tip! My Tulips come back every year, but then I have sandy soil that reaches high temps in the sunny months. Otherwise, I would definitely do this ripening thing, although it would be preferable to plant the bulbs in those aquatic baskets first, because previous attempts to move Tulips has been troublesome.

09/04/2013 at 22:12

i also lift my tulips but i do this just after flowering then pot them in pots put them in the green house and let them die down then dry them off and replant them in november time and this works for me.

09/04/2013 at 22:34
Thanks for all the advice guys. I think once the foliage has begun to die back ill definitely lift the bulbs this year. My soil can get quite Wet during winter and I don't suppose we have had much sun the last couple of years to bake them off. Ah we'll happy planting !
09/04/2013 at 22:48

I saw a very effective idea on showing tulips on GW a couple of years Carol's garden she planted up about 20-30 pots with a single variety.. great impact and very beautiful. I tried to copy on a smaller scale and it looked very good. I moved the bulbs to the vegetable garden to give them a chance to flower again for cutting, knowing that in the second year you usually get fewer flowers and i didn't want to tie up lots of pots with a chance of poor flowering. The pots are now planted up again with this year's choice...Abbu Hassan. I buy my bulbs at the Malvern autumn flower show which has a fantastic rrange of bulbs, corms, etc for the following Spring.

The bulbs in the vegetable garden are growing well but it is too early to know how much flower I shall have. I shall leave them in and plant my runner beans over them in the summer. The feed for the beans, and the nitrogen fixed by the beans may help for the 3rd year. Here's hoping... noithing ventured...

10/04/2013 at 08:25

Nut  at last house we had a weasel who lived in the bank by the pond who caught a lot of young rabbits but I don't know if he got a lot of the mice. He was certainly very entertaining to watch as he used to run along the ledge of the conservatory windows and have a look in!

WW the 'single plant pots' are always great for big impact. A row along a path or edge of a patio/steps- all the same and in same pots make a great display. If you have room to do this with different plants for each season and swap them round it's really effective. I love tulips but the planting medium has to be right  and pots are a great way of achieving it. I used to have a gigantic pot that I put a normal one inside and just changed the plants in that-spring bulbs the sweet peas and so on. It makes a great feature for a patio but the key is to make sure it's a big pot!

10/04/2013 at 09:13

Great idea the pots, until a badger (we think) came along, dug up the pots, emptied them out and ate all the contents.

10/04/2013 at 09:44

The best tulips for multiplying in the ground are the species,either single or multiflowered.  There were yellow tulips in my garden when i moved in nearly fifty years ago and i still have them, some in the original place and others scatttered round the garden where they have seeded themselves.   There are fields and fields of tulips(kaufmanniana) growing wild inTurkey which never get dug up and just look glorious when they flower.  I have pots of all the same kind flowering now so will phtograph them for you.  Tulipa turkestanica and Tulipa tarda are dwarfs that spread beautifully year after year.  The ones all the same flowering now by my path are called "Stress".  They have green and red striped leaves.


10/04/2013 at 11:10

..oh what a lovely thread on Tulip's, this is like heaven to me... 

lovely 'Stresa''s there, such a striking colour.

Excellent advice all round.. especially about the aquatic pots, I think they're marvellous for bulbs with their little drainage holes for the roots to feed through... it makes them much easier to deal with I think... unless of course you have badgers... I'm sorry to hear that Berghill...

my favourite Tulip, clusiana 'Lady Jane'  is proving perennial for me.  I'm growing it along a hot dry border and they're planted straight in the ground, not in pots...  when they've finished I let the leaves die down, but amongst them I have Gaura 'Cherry Brandy' and they spring up when the tulips have finished...  I quite like this sort of thing, it seems to work well..





10/04/2013 at 11:11

Gorgeous, HM.

I have read that tulips are not as long-lived as daffodils.  Your yellow tulips seem to disprove this.

10/04/2013 at 13:01
Like Wintersong, I have very free draining soil, and my tulips planted in the ground come up year after year, and multiply.

I really should plant some more, maybe I'll turf some out of their pots when they've done their stuff this year and liberate them into the garden.
10/04/2013 at 15:00

The clusiana tulips are great at multiplying.  I have "Cynthia" and the Bristol Botanic Garden have a great spread of them on the Mediterranean Bank.  they are up the Mountain Path where they bake in the sun in the summer but mine multiply very well in the flat bed they are in albeit right in the sunniest part of the garden.  

11/04/2013 at 20:20

We all love daffs for their early showiness...but there's something very special about Tulips.

12/04/2013 at 11:07

Despite the horrific thunderstoem and haistones we had in Brustol last night my "Stress" tulips are fine and my "Ancilla" which flower later are coming on.  The heavy rain created a duckpond and the hailstones were bouncing out of it.  i have hundreds more tulips to flower yet, just budding at the moment, as I like to have them flowering over a long period.


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