Two Year Tulips??

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Paulina, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. Paulina

    Paulina Active Member

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    My neighbour lady was admiring my multitude of bulbs popping up all over my garden and told me tulips only last for two years and then they're gone. Is this true? I thought they multiplied and lasted forever like daffodils. I'm very disappointed because I put a lot of money into my bulbs thinking they'd be around for a long time. Can anyone give me some better (more positive) info on them??
     
  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I thought the same as you but a local nursery person told me the fancy hybrids they come up with nowadays only last a year or two. I think it's old varieties that perpetually self-propagate. Even then I think they need to be replace after a number of years.
     
  3. westcoastgarden

    westcoastgarden Active Member

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    I have a patch of "red riding hood" tulips that have come back every year for about eight years. I also have some two tone (kind of cream and red) kaufmania tulips that return faithfully. Under one of the rhodo's I have a very pale cream small tulip but I cannot remember the name - tradestarki or something like that? The last one has been in my garden at least thirteen years but it hasn't multiplied much.
     
  4. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    From John E. Bryan's book, Bulbs:

    "In frost-free climates tulips should be treated as annuals. ... The best tulips for such areas are mid- and late-season types. The bulbs should be lifted after the foliage has started to die down.

    "Where winters are more severe, with a month or more of frost and cold days, lifting and precooling may be necessary for repeat flowering. Place bulbs in the vegetable section of a refrigerator at temperatures between 32 degrees and 40 degrees F in September and October for planting in November or later. Never store bulbs with fruit: the ethylene gas produced by apples, for example, harms the bulbs.

    "In cold climates the bulbs can also be left in the ground, but they need a dry spell in late summer to reopen."

    He notes that some kaufmanniana tulips naturalize in cooler climates. The Darwin hybrids come from kaufamanniana parentage, and so they sometimes return. The Red Emperors are common, and so are Yellow Emperors.

    I think the summer dry spell is the tough part. How can I be a good gardener and let some part of the yard go dry and barren? Should I be proud that I have a desolate part of a garden where one Darwin keeps coming back? Well, I am tickled to see it. And you, living in garden paradise -- Mother Nature is out to get your tulips, I think.

    Chuck
     
  5. Ginger Blue

    Ginger Blue Active Member

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    Well I've been told that tulips decline over time because they produce bulblets below the main bulb and over time get deeper and deeper. Therefore lifting and planting higher keeps them fresh. I don't know of the accuracy of this, though.

    When I lived in Illinois (definitely cold winters and dry spells in the summer), my tulips barely produced a pathetic show the second year. Here in Missouri (cold winters and even drier summers), they last several more years. In fact I've got some that won't go away no matter how hard I try to kill them!

    But no matter what's going on, they grow fine in Holland. We just don't know the secret, apparently.
     
  6. Paulina

    Paulina Active Member

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    I guess I'll have to go do some tulip spywork in my home country. I'll let everyone know what I find out...
     
  7. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    Here is some information from the Royal Horticultural Society’s Web site, under Top Tips for Growing Tulips http://www.rhs.org.uk/news/tulips.asp:

    6. Some tulips persist from year to year, particularly the smaller Tulipa kaufmanniana and T. greigii hybrids, which only need to be lifted when overcrowded.
    7. Larger cultivars do not always flower well in their second year. When grown as part of spring bedding they may simply be discarded.

    The RHS also lists top performers in its trial gardens: http://www.rhs.org.uk/news/toptulips.asp
     
  8. westcoastgarden

    westcoastgarden Active Member

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    Tulipa turkestanica is the name of the little cream coloured tulip that comes back every year in my garden. The picture on this site http://www.horticopia.com/hortpix/html/pc5362.htm
    shows the flower wide open but I like it better when it is closed on a cloudy/rainy day.
     
  9. Erica

    Erica Active Member

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    OMG, this explains a lot! I was wondering what happened to my 50+ bulb this year!
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2006
  10. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    I hope this isn't going overboard, but I happened onto this while chekcing out Slate.com: http://www.slate.com/id/2138844/

    "In Holland, when the fabled and gigantic Dutch tulip fields are done blooming, mechanical diggers pull up the bulbs for storage in boxes with forced air ventilation to replicate a windy summer drought. In early fall, a conveyor belt sorts out the ones big enough to sell. The smaller ones are replanted for harvest another year."
     
  11. Paulina

    Paulina Active Member

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    Not overboard at all. Very interesting article. Thanks so much for that, I'm an all or nothing type person, either plant them every year or not at all... After learning this, I'll settle for not at all. Unless of course I happen to come across the ones that come back year after year.
     
  12. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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  13. Erica

    Erica Active Member

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    Thanks Newt for the list! And the pictures help,too, for those of us who don't know Latin names.
     
  14. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years

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    These tulips are but a few of what were already planted when we bought the house about 5 years ago so I don't know how long ago they were planted. These particular bulbs grow under the upstairs' verandah and get little rain but lots of sun and they receive very little attention other than deadheading and splitting up when they become too dense. They share their raised bed with 30 year old grape vines which reach right up to the roof, roses, lillies and other assorted plants. I really look forward to their appearance each year and am really interested to see how long they remain so strong.
    Margaret
     

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  15. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hi Margaret,

    They're lovely! Thanks for sharing them.

    Newt
     

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