Learn how to deal with and prevent recurrence of fungal tulip fire in our expert guide.
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Fungal spores attack emerging tulip leaves. They invariably become malformed, with brown spots leading to rotting of both the foliage and flowers, although the buds may well fail to open. If they do open, there will probably be white spots on the petals. Sometimes the flower stem collapses and the whole plant can end up covered in fungus, especially after heavy rain.
Withered, distorted tulip leaves are covered in brown spots followed by a grey fungal growth. Any flowers that are produced have pale spots on the petals and are likely to turn mouldy and rot.
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Immediately destroy all infected plants, along with the soil around the roots, and don't replant any tulips in the same spot for at least three years. Check tulip bulbs carefully before planting to make sure they are unblemished and firm, and don't have any signs of fungus around the neck.
It can help to plant tulips in November, rather than early autumn. By planting closer to Christmas soils are colder, so the fungus is less likely to spread.