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When to lift tulip bulbs?

I just saw an article with a video from Alan Titchmarsh. He advised to lift tulips straight after flowering and leave them to dry. The plants had literally just finished flowering and had not began to die back naturally. Can you do this?
Happy Gardening

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  • BiljeBilje Posts: 670
    That seems contradictory to what is normal practice. After flowering the leaves are still feeding the bulb. If you remove the leaves the bulb won’t “ fatten up” It doesn’t take long for the leaves to die away naturally. If the tulips are in a pot and you want to reuse it for summer plants, you can lift the bulbs in a lump and drop them into spare ground or a temporary home in a spare pot. I find the odd feed of tomato fertiliser hats. 
  • BiljeBilje Posts: 670
    Sorry don’t know how to edit… the last word was to be helps
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,060
    I do the same as you @Bilje, re feeding and putting in another pot if necessary. Most are a bit iffy about returning here, apart from the species ones though, so I sometimes just stick them in a border and if I get a few coming back it's a bonus.  :)

    If you click on the little cogwheel - top right of your post - you get about an hour to edit your post  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Thanks all, I've been growing tulips for a good few years and I've always been told to let them die back. Don't trust everything these tv gardeners tell you. Lol
    Happy Gardening
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,060
    In theory there's no reason why you can't lift them, but I don't know how well they bulk up if doing that. It could depend on how good the growing conditions are to start with too, because the bulbs may well bulk up well enough in good soil and climates, making it unnecessary.
    The storage would need to be very good as well. 

    An experiment with the same bulbs might be a good idea   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 10,153
    I volunteer in a large garden open to the public - they don’t like leaving displays in when they have “gone over”.  We have just lifted all the tulips - some still in flower.  They are now in crates in a polytunnel drying off.  When the foliage has died off they get netted up and will be planted in the borders next November.

    So if you have to lift them, it seems the professionals do 😀
    The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page  - St Augustine
  • chicky said:
    I volunteer in a large garden open to the public - they don’t like leaving displays in when they have “gone over”.  We have just lifted all the tulips - some still in flower.  They are now in crates in a polytunnel drying off.  When the foliage has died off they get netted up and will be planted in the borders next November.

    So if you have to lift them, it seems the professionals do 😀

    Thanks for that chick.. They're in pots so I think I'll lift them as and when my bedding plants and vegetables are ready to go out.
    Happy Gardening
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