I was surprised to learn that tulip bulbs split apart and form small
bulbs that usually don't flower the following year. I was planning on
planting a bed of tulips this fall, but I'm not sure now knowing that
I will have to replant them every year.
I know that there are perennial tulips, which are gigantic 5-6" bulbs
that don't split for several years, but I really wanted some more
unique colors that aren't available as perennial tulips.
Are there any techniques for growing standard tulip bulbs as
It also begs the questions - how are tulip bulbs produced for sale in
the first place? :)
My tulips bloom every year. I plant 95% species tulips. I am no tulip
expert but I don't think your representation is quite true. But many fancy
hybrid tulips weaken rather than strengthen with each year. Some of the
fancy hybrids perennialize instantly, others fade out & look yes
impressive year by year, & when shopping for varieties you have to choose
carefully if you want them to perennialize. From memory, but I think I
remember this right, if you go for the Darwin hybrids, you'll have big
beauties that perennialize with great ease. Or go my route & stick to
species tulips. Some of them are just as showy as the million hybrids.
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
That has not been my experience. I put in a bed of tulips 12 years
ago in my backyard, and they pop up every year. I don't do *anything*
to them. I don't dig them up and separate them, I don't take them
inside, etc. They grow like crazy, and do fine every year. They
seem to be thicker now than when I first put them in, but I haven't
The only thing that hurts them are the deer, who have eaten
them back three years in a row, now.
Tulips are perennials to at least zone 5, maybe colder. You can leave them in
the ground though most people plant new ones every year. They will flower
every year as long as you let the foliage die off naturally.
By observation I've found that tulips that are eaten off one year will send
up vegetative growth the second year with fewer flowers. If they are eaten
off the second year, most don't appear the third year, but the ones that do
survive the deer attack and send up vegetative growth will flower the
following year if left unmolested.
The deer seem to browse the buds and flower more than the leaves, which
might account for survival after a couple years of browsing.
As an aside, deer also browse lilies and seem to prefer the scented trumpet
and orientals over the asiatics. They don't browse the foliage but select
the flowers and buds. I think the scent from the flowers of both tulips and
lilies is what attracts them.
Hmmm... Maybe it isn't deer then -- I just assumed so, since
I have caught the deer eating back the English ivy and munching
on my vegetable garden. It's a hell of a note. I live on a 1/3 acre
lot, and have seen six deer shoulder to shoulder in my back yard
Anyway, my tulips were eaten down to about 1 inch above the
ground. One small tulip had been pulled from the gound, and
the bulb was laying on the grass. Whatever this is, it isn't
just eating the flowers and buds.
It's definitely deer, billo, because there were tracks in the beds after the
flowers and buds disappear. The deer in my area do pick off the buds and
blossoms from the tulips although some of the leaves also disappear.
What they brows in the yard varies with the season. In the winter and early
spring before any green material is available, they browse the hydrangeas,
the azaleas, apple trees, rain trees, and maples. They didn't bother the
dogwoods, crape myrtles, redbuds, forsythia or peaches, although I've read a
few of those are on their diet list. I suppose it depends upon how hungry
they are. In the spring and early summer they prefer the buds and blossoms
of tulips, lilies, tall phlox, and roses just as they're starting to bloom.
I still think it's the aroma that attracts them because they seem to go
after the heavily scented phlox varieties more readily than the lesser
scented ones. And, of course, garden items such as peas, beans, beets, and
lettuce are high on the candy list.
I've once had them eat caladium plants that I planted in a shaded area away
from the house. I've read that they along with dieffenbachia contain calcium
oxate crystals packaged in raphides, which is supposed to cause severe
irritation to the mouth and throat and which may also be an irritant to the
G.I. tract. I certainly hope those miserable beasts developed a bad case of
indigestion after destroying $50.00 worth of bulbs to say nothing of the
time and effort I put in making the bed.
BTW, I'm enjoying your on-going RoundUp saga. Much of the rebuttal time is
spent in attacking the messenger and proving something is true by saying
it's true. You're doing well. :)
No, no. I wasn't doubting that dear ate your plants. I was
saying that since my tulips were eaten down to the nubs maybe
something else was guilty in *my* garden. I'm not doubting
you -- I just didn't catch any culprits in the act wrt my
The bastards. We've given up on vegetable gardening until
we move to a place where I can shoot the damn things. We've
been eaten down to nothing three years in a row. For this
particular problem, my favorite gardening tool will be
a Remington Model 700 bolt-action .30-06.
Thanks! But be careful of referring to it, else the thread
Yes, I'm aware of that because I was the object of an attack by the an
individual who referred me by using every word in "The Book of Slang." I
also asked for credentials but received none. Enuf said! :)
Tulips are true perennials, but behave more like annuals in the USA.
I read about it in a book that I don't have with me right now so I
can't reference it, but I did a google search and found a quite a few
articles. Here's two:
My neighbors planted tulips around their trees and in a bed in their
front yard. They grew beautifully last year. But this year, mostly
just small pieces of foliage grew, and only a few flowers on plants
that were much smaller than the growth from last year. After I read
about the perennial nature of tulips in the US, to me this seems to
corroborate the fact that the bulbs must have split and the small
daughter bulbs only put up a leaf or two of foliage each.
I suppose if I try watering and fertilizing only in the spring when
they first start growing then again in the fall, and leaving them dry
for the summer, they may regrow OK.
The main part of this top URL you posted is this:
"Tulips are indeed true perennials," explains Frans Roozen, technical director
of the International Flower Bulb Center in Hillegom, the Netherlands. "Getting
them to bloom in your garden year after year is no problem, if your garden
happens to be located in the foothills of the Himalayas, or the steppes of
My experience has been that while some tulips re-bloom for a year or
possibly 2, they mostly disappear. Not at all like daffodils, which
reliably multiply in place. Every year, I have *leaves* coming up,
usually only 1 or 2, but not blooms. I never paid attention to whether
they were advertised as perennial or not, and just chose from the
pretty pictures. :-) Zone 7b.
Very good question. Hope someone knows the answer.
I actually caught the answer in the article I linked. The Dutch do it
with special machines in bulb sheds.
"Roozen explains that Holland's sandy soil, and the proven ability of
the Dutch to perform miracles of hydraulic engineering (meaning they
can get water to do just about anything they want), actually offer
some of the most excellent growing conditions for tulip bulbs on the
planet. To get the bulbs to not only return but to multiply (sort of a
prerequisite for supporting an ongoing industry) is a bit more
'Professional Dutch growers subject their plant stock to an ingenious
series of heat and humidity treatments each summer before planting,'
explains Roozen. Developed over the past 400 years, this manipulation
of temperature and humidity levels allows growers today to perfectly
replicate the tulip's native habitat.
By the time the bulbs are tucked into the sandy Dutch soil for their
winter's sleep (and Mother Nature's 'cold treatment') the bulbs have
been fooled into thinking they've been through another summer drought
in the Himalayas!
This is why Dutch growers always have scads of tulip bulbs to sell
each fall, and the rest of us, left to our own climactic devices, have
'Don't try this at home,' warns Roozen, 'the process for temperature-
treating bulbs is quite tricky, requiring years of experience and
expensive climate control systems such as the ones you see in Dutch
Yep, they're actually a type of lily. If their petals opened all the
way, they'd look like lilies. In fact, Dutch Gardens actually has some
tulips that *do* in fact open way up and look like lilies:
...which they say behaves like a perennial in the USA.
Just reread this post and realized that I live in pretty much ideal tulip
conditions which is why all of Kamloops plants tulips in theur beds and
forget about them. They come back every year around here. Probably most of
northern US and all of Canada have the right conditions.
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.