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Hi all. I'm getting steadily more and more excited with the garden at the moment. My fritallaries are starting to open and my hostas are just starting to show signs of life. I have also noticed my first tulip has opened this morning so the weather is gradually improving ! But speaking of tulips I have various clumps around the garden that are just sprouting leaves and no flower head. How can I cure this as I seem to buy new tulips every year and never normally get more than two showings from them.


  • WintersongWintersong Posts: 2,436

    I don't know why the Tulips you buy don't flower, because a bulb is pretty much guaranteed to flower in its first year. All the work has been done for you, provided the supplier is decent.

    After flowering, the bulb needs six weeks of food and water to make a new flower for the following year. It's leaves will die down and the bulb will sit dormant until next year.

    Now, bulbs will also multiply in the ground if left alone, so some years, you will see leaves but no flowers among others perhaps that are flowering and these are the baby bulbs doing their thing until they are fully grown and able to flower, which usually takes three years which is why some people treat bulbs, especially Tulips, as throw aways.

    Also, Tulips do need sunshine to replenish after flowering, so make sure you plant them somewhere sunny-ish or it could affect flowering rates. Tulips hate to sit in freezing wet soil and will also rot over winter, which might explain you loses some years. So plant with lots of grit to keep them coming up year after year image

  • Thanks wintersong. It's not the new tulips I buy, they always flower, it's just tulips i have had for a couple of years in different places. I buy new ones yearly but I would just like the older types to come through as well. Maybe lifting them after spring and seeing what's happening will do the trick. As you say maybe they are putting all their energy into making new bulbs

    As for throwing them away some of the bulbs I've bought have been quite expensive and I'd of thought I'd get more than one season out of them !!! image
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,425

    I can't keep tulips, sometimes they don't even do the first year. I suspect mice or voles. Crocuses don't do much better

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,872

    Planting in pots is a good solution Danny especially the baskets for pond plants as you can lift them and give them some tlc when they're finished. Drainage is really important so Wintersong is bang on about that.

    Nut- I think you'r eprobably right about the mice. They can be a real nuisance. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,300

    Tulips really do need a period of hot ripening. In many ways you are better off lifting them once all the leaves have gone and drying them off and keeping warm (but not sweltering) and replanting in October.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,425

    We're undermined with small furry things here. Need a few owls but haven't heard much from them lately Fairygirl.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • WintersongWintersong Posts: 2,436
    Berghill wrote (see)

    Tulips really do need a period of hot ripening. In many ways you are better off lifting them once all the leaves have gone and drying them off and keeping warm (but not sweltering) and replanting in October.


    This is a great tip! My Tulips come back every year, but then I have sandy soil that reaches high temps in the sunny months. Otherwise, I would definitely do this ripening thing, although it would be preferable to plant the bulbs in those aquatic baskets first, because previous attempts to move Tulips has been troublesome.image

  • i also lift my tulips but i do this just after flowering then pot them in pots put them in the green house and let them die down then dry them off and replant them in november time and this works for me.

  • Thanks for all the advice guys. I think once the foliage has begun to die back ill definitely lift the bulbs this year. My soil can get quite Wet during winter and I don't suppose we have had much sun the last couple of years to bake them off. Ah we'll happy planting !
  • I saw a very effective idea on showing tulips on GW a couple of years Carol's garden she planted up about 20-30 pots with a single variety.. great impact and very beautiful. I tried to copy on a smaller scale and it looked very good. I moved the bulbs to the vegetable garden to give them a chance to flower again for cutting, knowing that in the second year you usually get fewer flowers and i didn't want to tie up lots of pots with a chance of poor flowering. The pots are now planted up again with this year's choice...Abbu Hassan. I buy my bulbs at the Malvern autumn flower show which has a fantastic rrange of bulbs, corms, etc for the following Spring.

    The bulbs in the vegetable garden are growing well but it is too early to know how much flower I shall have. I shall leave them in and plant my runner beans over them in the summer. The feed for the beans, and the nitrogen fixed by the beans may help for the 3rd year. Here's hoping... noithing ventured...

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