Very much a beginner here, and this year I'm attempting to actually put some
effort into the yard to make it more attractive.
I have some tulips and a patch of irises that were already here when we
bought the house. Both did fairly well the first year, but last summer both
suffered quite a bit. Lots of greenery, few blooms. This year will be summer
I'm guessing that maybe they need to be divided to do better. On to the
question. Is this the proper time to do this? Right now I've got greenery,
but only leaves, no buds happening yet.
According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, my Halifax location is zone
Most but not all Tulips only bloom a very few (2 or 3) years and then
Some will go on for years. I'm not sure which ones they are. If I
remember correctly it is the red and yellow appledorn type. Hopefully
some one with more tulip expertise will speak up. Fall is the time to
divide Bearded iris. Dividing every 3 to 4 years is the rule of thumb.
Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
Bulb digging- as soon the root "hair" loses it's white colour and become
dark. At the same time chicken also start to darken. Also at the same time
leaves are strongly green. But this must not trick you - the bulbs must go
out. Earlier sorts sooner become mature- also remember that. If you do it
later, the number of sick bulbs increase, leaves are soft and is harder to
dig them out, and chickens more stay in the ground. After you dig them out
break the leaf cover near bulb top, or if you cut it leave about 1 cm above
bulb. Bulbs has to be stored immediately, closed room is needed with good
ventilation, it's needed that the whole amount of air in a room is replaced
at least 20 times per hour. Humidity of air - 70-80%, temperature 28-32
degrees of celsius. It this isn't done, it's possible that all bulbs could
die from Fusarium in a few days. After 8 days of drying on temp28-32, bulbs
are ready for cleaning- all with some degeneration - out(diseases), also
Usually is used woden box of size 75-50-10, bottom is of wire coated with
zinc, do not overload it, bulbs need air, of course in a dark. Bulbs big
(hen), and small ones (chickens) need to be stored in a place with
temperature 5-10 degrees of celsius constant, if it is higher new bulbs
(chickens) could dry out and die. But 3-4 weeks before planting temperature
has to be risen to 20 degrees of celsius. Chickens has to be keeped twice by
24 hours in lukewarm-tepid water. Immedeately before planting it's needed to
disinfect the bulbs (in 2%solution of benlate, and 0.2% solution of
E. has spoken.
Iris roots should be dug and divided AFTER blooming, as is the case with
You can dig out the entire mass of roots (with effort) and concentrate on
cutting up the most viable new growth (outer part of the mass). Make sure
each piece has two or three "eyes" (bud points) and replant where you like,
ensuring the tuber sits on the surface, mostly exposed, in very well
draining soil, where standing water is not a problem, and in full sun.
The old central part of the root mass is likely good for tossing away.
Tulips all depend on the variety. Most hybrid divisions are no good after
one season and are dug and thrown away essentially as annuals. It is a
matter of digging and inspection, looking for large, healthy firm offsets.
You may have more luck with the Kauffmanania, Greigii, or Species divisons,
if naturalization is your goal.
Do your tulip dividing in September.
And do lots of reading from your library if truly interested!! Few net
resources can really beat a well written book devoted exclusively to your
plant of interest.
I, too, bought a house last year with lots of greenery on some tulips
but no blooms. This spring - late February or so - as the tulips were
pushing through the soil, I put out some gentle fertilizer in their bed
(10-10-10). They ended up blooming beautifully.
Don't know if the fertilizer helped, or if they were just off last
year. I plan to try the fertilizer again next year.
With true bulbs (tulips, daffodils, "Dutch" iris), the flowers are
formed inside the bulb during the previous year, before the foliage
dies. With bulb-like plants (bearded iris, glads, dahlias), the
flowers are formed as the plant sends up its flower stalks in the
spring or summer.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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