Any tulip breeders? :)
I caught tulipmania this past fall. I tried to get about 10 bulbs each of 2 dozen varieties. Planted most of them outside, but I was impatient so I figured I could force some in my basement and get a head start on the breeding. Well, it has not been going so great! lol
I refrigerated 20 bulbs for a month, then planted them in tubs of pre-fertilized soil, under flourescent grow lights. Probably my first mistake was not using sterilized soil or potting mix because fruit flies immediately hatched out of the soil. -_- Two bulbs died due to fungus, but the other 10 all sprouted. The Claudias all did great - The third is flowering currently and I'm hoping it lasts long enough to be bred with the first bulb of a different variety which is going to bloom in about two days.
However, one of the bulbs produced full-sized leaves (lighter green than the others) but did not produce a flower stem. Then a brown stain started to spread up the stem from ground level, and then the leaves/stem fell off. Is this bulb a goner, and do I need to immediately dig it up and discard it and the soil around it? There is another bulb in the container with it.
Also, several of my tulips got an inch high and just stopped growing. o.O Would this be because my basement isn't quite warm enough? I thought I was giving them the right amount of water, and they have plenty of light...
For future reference, do any of you wash/soak tulip bulbs in some sort of antifungal/antibacterial solution before planting, and are you careful to used sterilized soil? Or should I just ignore the fruit flies and assume the fungused bulbs were bad when I got them?