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Tulip fire

Last year I bought a lot of tulips from J Parker in September. When I came to plant them in November, I noticed that quite a few were mouldy, some very mouldy. Being ignorant, I binned the worst ones, and just wiped the mould off the others and planted them, and I have Tulip Fire.
I wrote to J Parker and got this reply: "Good Afternoon and thank you for your email all our bulbs are sent out the correct time for planting in the garden or in pots outside we do not advises they be stored for the length of time you have stored them as this can damage the bulbs and cause them to sweat or rot."

Hmmm. I bought them early because I wanted specific species and I kept them in a cool, dry ex-garage. Although I'm a relatively inexperienced and definitely inexpert gardener, I thought that November is the preferred time for planting tulips, especially here in very rainy south-west Scotland. Indeed, I know that some of my garden club members plant their tulip pots as a Christmas Day ritual, unless there's a hard frost.

Opinions? TIA

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  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923
    I plant tulips (and all my other bulbs like daffodils) in late September, that way they can send out some roots before winter hits (i'm in North Yorkshire)

    how deep did you plant them? as this can sometime lead to tulip fire if they were planted too shallowly (bulbs need to be much deeper than you think)
  • Bagpuss57Bagpuss57 South West Posts: 256
    Liz88 said:
    Last year I bought a lot of tulips from J Parker in September. When I came to plant them in November, I noticed that quite a few were mouldy, some very mouldy. Being ignorant, I binned the worst ones, and just wiped the mould off the others and planted them, and I have Tulip Fire.
    I wrote to J Parker and got this reply: "Good Afternoon and thank you for your email all our bulbs are sent out the correct time for planting in the garden or in pots outside we do not advises they be stored for the length of time you have stored them as this can damage the bulbs and cause them to sweat or rot."

    Hmmm. I bought them early because I wanted specific species and I kept them in a cool, dry ex-garage. Although I'm a relatively inexperienced and definitely inexpert gardener, I thought that November is the preferred time for planting tulips, especially here in very rainy south-west Scotland. Indeed, I know that some of my garden club members plant their tulip pots as a Christmas Day ritual, unless there's a hard frost.

    Opinions? TIA

    I'm with you on thinking that tulips need to be planted after the daffs and I have even noted down from a GW program to plant them around Nov time. But I wonder if it does depend where you live? But with JParkers I certainly won't be buying anything else from them. I am hearing far too many bad reviews about them recently. I have also been told on this forum that JP are renowned for poor customer service especially when things go wrong. They are refusing to reply to my emails so you've been lucky to even get a reply. Not that their reply helped you at all. What a shame about the tulips though. It's so frustrating when you've spent hard earned cash on something lovely only to be let down by the company! 
  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,052
    This comes from GW website

    "Immediately destroy all infected plants, along with the soil around the roots, and don’t replant any tulips in the same spot for at least three years. Check tulip bulbs carefully before planting to make sure they are unblemished and firm, and don’t have any signs of fungus around the neck.

    It can help to plant tulips in November, rather than early autumn. By planting closer to Christmas soils are colder, so the fungus is less likely to spread."


    I didn't realise it was so serious @Liz88

    SW Scotland
  • I can sympathise with you. I once ordered some plants from J Parkers and what I received was as bad as it can get: rotten Lily bulbs, phlox with wilted leaves, delphinium plug plants which arrived nearly dead (out of 54, 7 survived). My experience with customer services was not all bad though, I did get a refund for the delphiniums. However needless to say I will never order from them again. 
    Tulips should be planted later than most autumn-planting bulbs to wipe out the tulip blight spores. Ideally, you want two or three hard frost before planting them so November is perfect. But if the bulbs were already of poor quality, planting them earlier would not have changed anything. 
    I always order my tulips mi October that way I do not have to store them for too long. Best avoid J Parkers in the future. I have ordered my tulips from Sarah Raven this year and was amazed with the quality of the bulbs. A lot more expensive but worth every penny in my opinion. 
  • Liz88Liz88 Posts: 40
    Yes, I've read the same about mouldy bulbs from J Parker. I did get a reply to my reply: Bulbs are a living object just the same as vegetables, if they are kept bagged up they will sweat and this in turn causes them to rot.  You can store bulbs but they have to spread out in trays so that the air can circulate round them, this stops them rotting although it does not prevent dehydration.   Tulip fire is spread by air and rain and is usually found in areas where tulips have been constantly replanted, but it can be spread by weather conditions from over a mile away. It is unlikely that your tulips have tulip fire which has originated from us as tulip fire would decimate the whole of the Dutch Tulip Industry,  if the bulbs were rotting when planted then the likely cause is that the rot has got inside the bulbs. 

    Planting later used to be a good idea when we had definable weather patterns but we had snow in April this year, weather is not the same as it was in our parents and grandparents day hence our recommendation to plant on receipt.

    In a way, I'm lucky inasmuch as I'm getting landscaping (raised bed) work done in that area later this year, so the soil can come out and be replaced with fresh soil before replanting. I plant new tulip bulbs each year, and would hate not to have them. They're about the only flowers I plant as an indulgence to myself, and not for the pollinators. (But I have plenty of pollinator-friendly plants out now too.)

    The weather is changing, especially milder autumns, but snow in April is not particularly new, we're more likely to have snow at Easter than Christmas.

    Thanks, all!


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