Growing Tulips

Botanical Name: Tulipa

Life Cycle: perennial

Planting Time: fall

Height: 4" to 30"

Exposure: full sun to light shade

Soil: rich, well-drained soil

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Hardiness: zones 3 to 8

Bloom Time: Spring

Flower: A variety of brilliant solid and mixed color patterns (except blue); saucer-shaped with 6 petals (except doubles); 400+ cultivars.

Foliage: Blue-green, smooth, thick, upright leaves with a blade-like shape; 6 to 10 inches long

Propagation: Bulbs

Suggested Use: Beds, borders, cut flowers, walkways and mass plantings

Growing Hints:

Plant bulbs from 4 to 8 inches deep and 4 to 8 inches apart in the fall. Bulbs should be free of mold or black spots and the outer tunic (brown layer) should be intact. If bulbs fail to bloom, they may have been handled or stored improperly before purchasing. For example, bulbs stored above 70F may not bloom well-or at all the first year, but may emerge the second year. If you want bulbs to bloom south of zone 8, you'll need to cold treat the bulbs (in the refrigerator) for 4-6 weeks before planting or buy bulbs pre-chilled. Bulbs can be moved or discarded when leaves die back and should thrive in dry soil conditions after flowering.

Interesting Facts:

The absence of emerging growth may be an indicator that rodents have made a buffet out of your bulbs. Placing chicken wire over the tops of holes after planting or mixing blood meal in with the dirt used to refill the planting holes will discourage most rodents from snacking on your hard work.

March 11, 20060 found this helpful

What do you mean when you wrote, "If you want bulbs to bloom south of zone 8, you'll need to cold treat the bulbs (in the refrigerator) for 4-6 weeks before planting or buy bulbs pre-chilled." I live in Southern California. Does this mean I can trick the bulbs into thinking they went into a cold season by placing them in the fridge for 4 weeks and then plant them and they will bloom this season in April or May. The reason I am confused is because I was at the store the other day and they were selling bulbs. I thought bulbs needed to be planted in the fall meaning September in California. It is March. I would love to have pots full of bulbs next month or the month after but, I thought it was too late and I missed the planting season this year and would have to wait till next fall to plant for a bloom in next spring. Please if you can clear all this up for me, I would be greatly appreciate it.

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March 11, 20060 found this helpful

Hi beachers,

Let me preface my response by saying that depending on who you ask, tulip bulbs can require anywhere from 4-16 weeks to chill to induce blooming. How long they need exactly depends on the variety. If you're not sure what variety you have, 8-10 weeks is a safer bet. Tulips should be planted in the fall. Some zones don't reach cold enough temps or stay there long enough to chill the bulbs. In this case, youll need to simulate cold weather (about 40F) by storing the tulips in your refrigerator before planting in the fall. Start this process early so that they are ready to plant by November or December-your optimum window for planting bulbs in Southern Cal. You can also order bulbs that have been pre-chilled, but not usually this time of year. Some sources will claim you can pre-chill bulbs anytime during the year. I'm not convinced. Bulbs are grown and shipped with optimal planting times in mind. If stored too long dry before they are prechilled or planted they tend to die. These are usually the bulbs you see marked way down at the stores. You can try planting them or prechilling them and planting them, but they will usually not produce good results. I hope that helps clear things up!

Ellen

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April 6, 20080 found this helpful

What do you do after they bloom to replant them?

Editor's Note: If they are potted or in the ground, let them die back. They only bloom once a year so will come back up again in the spring. If you want to dig them up to divide them, do that in the fall.

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