Tulips turning brown

adam211(8-Seattle)March 25, 2011

About 3 weeks ago I purchased some tulips and daffodils at the local nursery. They were healthy, shooting up, and vibrant green.

Now 3 weeks later, here in Seattle with ample rain (and a little bit of sun) they were in my east-facing planter and the tulips are turning brown.

One thing I wasn't clear on was how deep to plant already sprouting tulips. They're probably only a half-inch to inch deep (bought them same way). Daffodils are planted the same way but I couldn't ask for them to be doing better.

Here are some pictures. What could be the problem? Do they need to be planted deeper? It almost looks like they are burning up.



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When you say you bought some tulips, at this time of year they should have been potted up, were they? Your tulips look like they were not sufficiently winter chilled. It also looks like they may be getting too much sun from a window, although that seems impossible this time of year in your location. Al

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 8:17AM
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It looks more like the start of a fungal issue than anything else. I'd guess that your potting soil may be more moisture retentive than ideal. Also wondering how much sun these will get in an east facing window box......ideally they would appreciate being in full sun.

Other than the potting medium and perhaps not enough sun, I can't see anything else that might be amiss with the planting. Depth of planting for already sprouted bulbs is not very critical, although if planting these bulbs out into the garden after bloom time, I would plant them deeper. Did you use any fertilizer in the planting mix?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 11:25AM
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Thanks for your responses:

calistoga: I'm unclear on what you mean by "potted up." They were in those plastic plant containers typical of most plants in nurseries but not in any sort of ceramic pot. I know they aren't getting too much sun, if anything they are getting too much water.

gardengal48: I didn't realize not all potting soils were created equal. I only had a couple options at the nursery and both look unassuming enough. I suppose that's possible. Or maybe my planter doesn't allow the moisture to drain enough? We've also been getting a decent amount of rain with very little sunshine here, so I could see them being overmoist. I did not use any fertilizer. I guess that means I should have?

Thanks for your responses! Hopefully I can have more control over my bulbs when I get a house, but for now I'm just trying to have as much fun with planting while I can with my apartment.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 11:33AM
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When I refer to being potted I mean were the roots growing in soil in any kind of container, from your response they were. In that case the bulb complete with roots and soil would have been planted in your window container at home, which appears to be inside but from your answer I think it must be outside, my mistake. My tulips in my garden in a clay/loam soil have been completely flooded with rain everyday for the past month with no adverse effects. Your window box would normally have sufficient drain holes and even the worse potting mix, should not be a problem as for drainage in the short time involved. You would not need to fertilize and I would not recommend it. The leaf necrosis in caused by the soil and whatever may be in it, sometimes your water can also be the cause, but not RAIN WATER. I still stick with my opinion that the short stems are the result of insufficient chilling, before you bought them. Al

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 10:05AM
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