transplanting tulips from containers

njitgradMarch 18, 2014

In the fall I filled five containers I each with single variety tulip bulbs, buried them in my emptied-out raised veggie beds, covered the beds with a thick layer of leaves and stapled burlap over the tops of the beds to keep the leaves in place all winter long.

Well, last week I dug up those containers and my hard work in the fall was not a waste of time since I am starting to see stalks emerging (patting my self on the back right now).

Once the tulips bloom and eventually start to die off, could I just transplant the contents of the entire container into my landscaping so that next season not only will I have a nice bunch of tulips growing in that spot, but I can also repeat the process with the same containers and different varieties?

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tuliper(7B RVA)

Successfully being able to get tulips to perennialize in the Mid-Atlantic clay soil is a topic of debate. The best variety I have had luck with, and I've planted them all, is the Darwin Hybrids. The Species tulips are reliable perennials, but they aren't as showy. When the flowers fade in your 5 containers, the next day you're going to want to use the pots, if you're anything like me. I suggest you find a gardening spot that isn't in a manicured bed, that gets 4-6 hours of sun for which to relocate your tulips. If you fairly carefully replant them they will properly "sugar down" which means the leaves have 6 weeks to absorb sun and fade thus storing energy for a bloom next year.

Personally, I just buy a boatload of bulbs every year from Colorblends and when I get sick of looking at the ratty faded tulips I rip back the foliage. A lot of people honestly do not think it's worth the effort of trying to make sure the bed stays dry over the summer and just plant more every fall.

Also, if your soil is remotely loamy and free draining, plant your tulips 12" deeps, yes, 12 INCHES to ensure they perennialize. When planted closer to the surface the mother bulb splits to create smaller bulbs "pips" and in the Mid Atlantic's less than perfect conditions for a tulip (ie not a Turkish mountaintop) they will rarely come to bloom again.

Moral of the story, just buy a bag of 100 tulips from a wholesaler for $35 bucks and replant a new fresh variety each year. If you want them to come back, buy darwin hybrids and let them sugar down for 6-8 weeks. Also do not irrigate over top of the tulips, ie watering your bedding plants you plopped over them forgetting they exist, it will cause them to rot. Remember, plant tulips DEEPLY, and you'll have a much better success rate with 2nd and 3rd year flowering.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 4:34PM
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