I'm a newbie here, although I've been active in r.g.edible and
r.g.roses for some time. But since there isn't a
r.g.perennials, at least on my news server, this seemed like the
best group for my question.
We have a raised bulb bed, filled with "flower mix" soil from a
local soil/gravel/bark vendor. We've had it for several years.
The problem is this. My wife planted it in tulips, all
different kinds and colors. With the exception of a parrot
tulip or two, they all now produce yellow blooms. Healthy
plants, nice blooms, just not what we planted.
Over the last two years, we've gradually replaced the tulips
with lilies. Guess what? Same thing! We now have one red lily
and the rest are all yellow. Spreading like crazy, so they must
be nice and healthy as well.
I asked a local garden "expert" about this back when it was only
the tulips, and she said that cheap tulip bulbs would do that.
I wonder what she'd say about the lilies :-).
Anyone in this group have a clue what's causing our bulbs to
change their flower colors?
Thanks in advance for any and all advice.
I think what happens is that over time the stronger bulbs survive and the
rest die. In your case, the yellow ones won the battle of natural
selection. I bought a lot of bulbs on clearance last fall and kept the
packages after planting them. To my surprise, several varieties of the
tulips were completely different colors than the pictures and descriptions
on the packaging. If you planted one color of lily and another color
appeared, then there might have been a packaging mistake. I got several
packages of Dutch iris that were suppose to be mixed colors. I planted each
package in a different location. Nearly all of them were the same color -
not a mix of colors. Again, either a packaging mistake or the mix was not
random enough to yield packages with a good distribution of colors.
I would agree with the survival of the fittest theory. In my area, tulips
are fairly reliable as long-lived perennials, some living for decades, which
I realize is not the case in many parts of the country. However, over time,
tulip beds will end up being yellow and red. The pinks, whites, purples,
and stripes, except for the orange black stripes, are either shorter lived,
or when they multiply making little bulblets, those bulblets are not
reliably the same color.
What they said. :-) Whether through hybrid reversion or plain ol'
hardiness, the more common and ordinary types will usually reproduce
more vigorously. I've never had tulips rebloom reliably, so get new
bulbs when I want tulips. I started with 1 bulb of a big yellow
'tiger' lily, and they've spread and reproduced all over the place.
Survival of the yellowest? :-)
Can't answer you question, but thought I'd mention my related
experience. Several years ago, I spent lots of money on exotic
dark-colored tulips, ordering them from one of the more highly
touted mail-order companies. The next spring, when they came up
they were all yellow. :-(((((((((((((((((( I always wondered how
that could be.
It seems that mislabeling is becoming more of a problem
every year. I bought some very dark (almost black) Glads
(from a local dealer) and gave some of them to a neighbor.
All of our bulbs bloomed orange, very pretty, but not what
Well, how do bulb growers determine what color bulbs are going to be? I assume
that the bulbs 'breed true' for a certain number of generations, but there is
always the risk of cross-fertilization with other color groups.
I'm in the Spokane WA area.
Thanks to all that responded. Most reported on similar tulip
problems. I could see that, but the lilies as well?
BTW, if yellow tiger lilies are spotted like the orange ones,
no, I don't have any of those.
I don't remember now what exactly I did buy, but they did bloom
true the first year, and several were still OK the second year.
This year, the third, only one was not yellow.
And none have died - they're spreading outward in a circle from
the original plants which appear to still be doing fine.
So it's not just the new bulblets changing color, and it's not a
mis-labelling of the originals.
Concerning the tulips, it may be that the originals died off and
were replaced by offspring that reverted to yellow. Since
they've all been moved, I can't tell, but since others have had
that occur, it's probably what happened to ours.
BTW, I have lilies planted elsewhere in the yard that just had
their second year bloom, and none of them have changed yet :-).
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.