Messages posted to thread:

03-Apr-03 11:54 AM EST 7a   
Susan03-Apr-03 04:42 PM EST 6a   
JoanneS04-Apr-03 01:44 PM EST 3a   
Susan04-Apr-03 02:06 PM EST 6a   
JoanneS07-Apr-03 03:22 PM EST   
PatA08-Apr-03 01:55 AM EST 3a   
H08-Apr-03 10:21 PM EST 7b   
Michele19-May-03 12:56 PM EST 3a   
Bonnie09-Aug-03 06:46 AM EST 1a   

Subject: Growing Tulips for the Beginner ?? Help?
From: (
Zone: 7a
Date: 03-Apr-03 11:54 AM EST

Anyone successful growing tulips in the metro atlanta area? I am not an avid gardner by no means, but I am looking to find info. on how to go about growing tulips from selecting the bulbs, putting them in the ground, and caring for them once they have been planted. I would like the do's and dont's on how to go about planting tulips? Thanks for any info. Regards, troy

Subject: RE: Growing Tulips for the Beginner ?? Help?
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 03-Apr-03 04:42 PM EST

You're a long way from home Troy...welcome to Canada! :)

How cold does your soil get in winter down there? Tulips like to be planted in late fall in cool soil to establish a good root system and then go dormant until the soil warms up and spring rains come. If they are planted in too warm, moist soil, they will start growing flower shoots before the bulb has put down roots and the growth will exhaust the bulb and kill it. A second problem the big Darwin and Triumph tulips have is that their flower buds (that reside in the bulb when it is dormant) are killed when the soil temperature goes above 20 degrees Celcius (~68F) or so. That means you have to let the tulip foliage grow after flowering until it yellows and dies back. Then you can dig up the bulbs, let the soil dry and clean it off and then store the bulbs in a cool, dry area until late fall when you can replant. (Or you can just treat then as annuals and replant new bulbs every year...) There are some tulips that do naturalize (i.e. survive warm soils with the flowerbud alive so you don't need to lift them before summer heat.) They are the 'botanical tulips' - essentially they are forms of tulips close to their wild ancestors. They are usually short and smaller flowered than what you think of when you think 'tulip' (i.e. Darwins and Triumphs.) However they come in a wide range of colors and shapes and are very unusual and attractive. I much prefer them to the big tulips.

However, since you're in such a different geographic and climatic area, you should probably seek advice from a local Extension office, a good nursery and/or a local garden club or gardening neighbour.

Subject: RE: Growing Tulips for the Beginner ?? Help?
From: JoanneS (
Zone: 3a
Date: 04-Apr-03 01:44 PM EST

Hello Mr. Troy, I must have misunderstood something in Susan's response regarding the maximum temperatures tulips can stand. I have tulips that survive 80 and higher, so I'm not clear on the surviving 68 temperature comment.

However, they do need a cool period in order to bloom. Depending on how cool you get in the winter, you may have to research "forcing bulbs". I do this with tulips and hyacinths in an empty vegetable crisper in the fridge. Then I put them in pots and away they go. It can't be too much of a stretch to cool them in the fridge, and then plant them outside. As Susan said, you may have to treat them as annuals, but I do this myself with some of the really fancy varieties that I have to replant each year anyway.

My favourite gardening guru states "Try it. If it works you look like a hero. If it doesn't, well, you didn't think it would anyway."

Subject: RE: Growing Tulips for the Beginner ?? Help?
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 04-Apr-03 02:06 PM EST

Joanne - I probably wasn't clear enough - I don't mean the visable flower bud once the tulips start growing. I mean the embryo flowerbud inside the bulb. If the soil temperature (not air temperature...) exceeds about 20C during the summer dormant period, that embryo bud will die and therefore there will be no flowers the next spring. That's why you have to lift the big Darwin and Triumph bulbs or else they won't flower the next year. A few might have surviving buds but the majority will not flower. The ability of the embryo flowerbud to survive high soil temperatures is a key difference between tulip bulbs that 'naturalize' and those that don't.

Does that make more sense now?

Subject: RE: Growing Tulips for the Beginner ?? Help?
From: JoanneS (
Date: 07-Apr-03 03:22 PM EST

Thanks Susan, I didn't know that about soil temperature and tulip bulbs. That certainly explains why some do not rebloom in subsequent years.

That's one of the things I love about this forum - I learn something new all the time.

Subject: RE: Growing Tulips for the Beginner ?? Help?
From: PatA
Zone: 3a
Date: 08-Apr-03 01:55 AM EST

mr_troy, you may find that to get tulips to bloom you have to prechill them for 8 to 12 weeks at 35 to 40 degrees F to simulate WINTER. A bulb frige (my version of a beer frige but with the husband's stash kicked out) that you don't store other fruits and veggies in works good. The other stuff gives off ethelene gas that causes the bulbs to go soft. If you have room plant in bedding trays, if not just store in PAPER bags. Check your local garden centre to see if they bring in pre-chilld bulbs. At the end of the chilling period plant outside where you want to display them.

Subject: RE: Growing Tulips for the Beginner ?? Help?
From: H
Zone: 7b
Date: 08-Apr-03 10:21 PM EST

Mr. Troy, There are tulips blooming right now in our area. One yard here has tulips mixed into large daffodil beds so they must be okay all year. Joanne's guru has the right idea. Try some and see what happens. Pike's Family Nursery should be able to help, too.

Subject: RE: Growing Tulips for the Beginner ?? Help?
From: Michele
Zone: 3a
Date: 19-May-03 12:56 PM EST

Hi, What's the shelf life of the average flower bulb ? I got some freebies from a friends yard sale & it's a long way from fall. The bulbs are tulips, crocus, narcissus, anemone - nothing expensive -typical department store assorted packages. Are they even still alive ? I presume she bought them last fall. Any ideas on what to do with them ? Thanks,

Subject: RE: Growing Tulips for the Beginner ?? Help?
From: Bonnie
Zone: 1a
Date: 09-Aug-03 06:46 AM EST

I am REALLY new at gardening. So far have had very good luck. Two years ago I bought 50 'assorted' tulip bulbs in a pkg., planted them in the fall according to instructions on the pkg. I got huge tulips, mostly yellow, a few red with yellow centers which amazingly enough I had planted on each end of the row. 50 tulips came up. This year the yellow ones came up again with only a couple of red. They were clustered closer together and did not appear as good as last year. A friend told me that I should take out my tulip bulbs and replant them in the fall (a fact I had not known). My question today is... when does one take out the bulbs? I have chrysanthemums growing very well in the same spots and hesitate to go after the tulip bulbs at this time. Thank you for your time.

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