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Spring bulbs

celcius_kkwcelcius_kkw Posts: 751
It’s sort of widely accepted that for many spring bulbs, particularly tulips and specialist daffodils don’t flower reliably every year and I have always been advised to just buy new ones if I want a reliable show next year. I wonder why that is the case? If I were to consistently feed my bulbs after they have flowered surely they should then store up enough energy and nutrients for next year’s flower? 

After all, how do the bulb suppliers ensure their bulbs flower reliably for their customers anyway..? 

I just feel like it seems slightly wasteful and costly to have to purchase new bulbs every year..


  • chickychicky Posts: 10,321
    edited March 2021
    Not sure about daffodils (most of mine come back reliably every year) but for tulips it’s because the average British garden can’t give them the conditions they need to thrive (ie flower again).  They need a good baking every summer and really well drained soil.  The places that grow bulbs for sale give them these conditions (think tulip fields in the Netherlands or Lincolnshire) plus exactly the right regime of nutrients, water etc.  When you plant them in your garden it’s all a bit hit and miss whether they get those optimal conditions to allow them to flower again.

    Some tulips are less fussy than others and will come back year after year ......Ballerina is one, and China Pink does well even on my clay soil.
  • SophieKSophieK Posts: 242
    Fairly new to tulips (and everything else) but read quite a bit on them and yes, I agree, it seems quite expensive to treat them as annuals but it seems to be the only reliable way to have blooms every year. I planted mine last November, they've started to come up beautifully, and the plan is to leave them in the ground and see what happens next year. Hoping that I can get away with buying new bulbs every two years.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,036
    I guess such huge showy flowers are hard to sustain over a long lifetime. When you buy new ones from growers you're getting them in their prime with a lot of specialist effort put in to ensuring that impressive display. 

    There are some varieties that a more perennial, including the botanical tulips.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,676
    I think part of the problem with tulips is once they get to a  good " flowering size" they start to make baby bulbs, so the " mother bulb" starts going downhill.
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