News: Growing Tulips 2018

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Growing Tulips 2018


 
The most common question that I am asked about tulips is: “should I leave them in year to year, or do I really have to lift them?”
There is no right or wrong answer. If leaving them undisturbed has worked for you do not change anything, they are obviously quite happy in their current position, even if you need to top them up by 20% each year. The most important and essential elements of a successful Spring garden is in the preparation stage, the soil requires a good working over to ensure good drainage and aeration, nothing grows without oxygen.
 
Tulips grow a new flowering bulb from the basal plate every year. The picture shows the new bulb developing, last year’s bulb is exhausted, although the stem of the old bulb is still visible. Tulips planted in shadeorsemi shade will flower slightly later and last longer. Tulips planted in full sun are easier to keep year on year as the soil is dryer in the summer during their dormant period. They also benefit from the higher soil temperatures, necessary to ripen next year’s flower embryo.
 
Below are my own recommendations, however it very much depends on your soil conditions and planting aspect.  
 
In the Border
If you are only planting small groups, my advice would be to treat them as annuals. Shallow planting (a ground depth of 7-10cm, 3 to 4 inches) is perfectly adequate and the job of lifting the bulbs after flowering is made easy.
If you plan to leave the bulbs in the ground plant a little deeper (12-15cm, 5 to 6 inches). The big advantage of deeper planting is to minimise the number of offset bulbs produced, more energy is devoted to feeding next year’s flower bulb.
 
Pots Containers and Show Borders
These areas tend to be the focal points of the garden and here I would always recommend planting new season bulbs. The size of the bulb ultimately determines its flowering performance. Since we want to create an impact we are looking for a large uniform sized flower head and an even plant height.
After the growing season, these bulbs can easily be lifted and stored to be planted for cutting or used in the border the following autumn.
 
I look forward to being of service again to you this year,
 
Yours,
Chris Blom

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