Tulips raised in glass container

ponion(z9FL)February 18, 2008

Received a large container of tulip bulbs with roots touching a few inches of water. They had a beautiful yellow and orange flower and now I have over a dozen bulbs with lots of roots and green folage. Can I save these bulbs for later planting or are they done since being in water so long?


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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

You could plant them individually in soil and grow them on till the foliage dies back. For a tulip to bloom the bulb needs to be about four and a half inches in circumference. It take more than one growing season usually to attain that size, and most gardeners in warm climates like ours will just buy new bulbs. Al

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 10:18AM
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wildebloem(8 - Oregon)

Usually, tulips that have been forced, especially when forced on water, are discarded. The process takes a lot out of the bulb and it may take a long time to recover. Also, tulips do not bloom well (if at all) without a cold period, so in a warmer climate, it makes better sense to buy new bulbs each year.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 11:27AM
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Can someone please explain the process for forcing and growing tulips in water in a glass container--like we all see at Costco!! They have been in the refrigerator for three months. and we have the containers from last year. Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 11:25AM
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wildebloem(8 - Oregon)

The bulbs are suspended just above the water - if the bulbs sit in water for extended periods, they will rot. After the cold period, the pots are brought into light and warmer temperatures. Once they bloom, I extend the bloom period by placing the vases in a frost-free spot outdoor.

I have used the process for all sorts of bulbs, including hyacinths, crocus, and amaryllis (below is a photo of one of this year's), and I have found tulips to be the most fickle. If you want to force tulips, your best bet is one of the more foolproof varieties.

And yes, that is one of those Costco tulip vases next to the amaryllis.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 1:32PM
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very pretty..I HAVE to try that!!

So here's a question for ya..
After my tulips (the ones which are in pots) are done blooming outside, can I chill them in the fridge for a few months..how many? Can I try to get them to re-bloom this way so I can have them bloom inside over the summer? Or do they need a year's rest like they would in the ground?


    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 4:39PM
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wildebloem(8 - Oregon)

I have never tried anything like that, but really, what would be the harm in trying? I assume tulips need a rest and your plan would not work, but loads of assumptions are proven wrong on a regular basis. If you do try it, I would go with a plain, consistent bloomer.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 7:58PM
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Thanks for the input! I'm gonna try it, I'll let ya know what happens.

Have you ever tried it with other bulbs like cannas, or lilies or anything? I am going to try it with some cannas as well and see what happens.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 11:03AM
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patwood(6a NJ)

In order to rebloom the tulips, you first need to make sure they get as much growing time out of the existing foliage as they can get. That means giving them light and fertilizer until the leaves die back. Then, you need to store the bulbs at room temperatures for at least 2-3 months before chilling them. Tulip bulbs are never truly dormant. There are changes going on inside the bulb even when they seem to be dry and sitting on the shelf in the stores in the fall.

A tulip bulb will not rebloom until it has matured to the "G" stage (there are a bunch of growth stages the bulb goes through after the foliage dies back). This is the stage where the embryonic bud has completely formed within the bulb (if you cut open a bulb in the fall, you'll see a small, 2mm high bud with all the parts of a full flower -- petals, stamen, pistil, etc.).


    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 4:08PM
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O Pat, thank you! I am writing this down and am going to use your advice. So maybe in the fall I will have blooming tulips? Thank you very much!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 8:13PM
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wildebloem(8 - Oregon)

Every year, I force a number of bulbs and bulb-like plants - lilies-of-the-valley, irises (bulbs and rhizomes), hyacinths, tulips, daffodils, Pleiones, Crocus, etc. I would think most are suitable for trying on water as long as the bulb/rhizome does not sit in the water. I have never tried forcing Cannas or lilies in any way.

Pat makes a good point: after bloom, the bulbs need to regenerate for the next cycle. For that reason, I think I would try new bulbs for out-of-season forcing. You should be able to hold back growth for some time in cold after you purchase bulbs in autumn.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 11:54AM
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sedum37(Z5 MA)

I just discard the tulips (both water forced and soil in pots forced) since it is not worth it to me to try to save them outside or plant again. Seems like they are cheap enough to just discard and start over with fresh bulbs. The way I look at it gardening should be fun and not all tedious work. Plus consider the cost of a cut flower arrangement from a florist and we don't try to preserve the flowers or dry them after receiving such an arrangement, would we? We just accept that we enjoy the flowers and then discard them when they brown up. So this is the way I think of it. I've even done this with rare tulips from Old House Gardens.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 1:56PM
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