Is it necessary to dig tulips after bloom?

mmqchdygg(Z5NH)April 17, 2008

I usually don't, but then the show gets less & less significant in subsequent years. Is it BECAUSE I don't dig them, or is it just the nature of tulips in general?

Do you dig yours?

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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Hi mmqc!

You might want to read the reply in this thread by mamoo_z5

I have had bad luck in previous years and had given up on them, but after reading that reply, I may just give them another try...the Darwin Hybrid ones that is. The ones I always planted b4 just ended up being like annuals to me...pretty the first season, and maybe just a bloom or 2 the second season. I still have foliage that comes up in places, but never any blooms...sigh.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 11:11AM
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How deep are you planting your tulips? The packages say to plant them at about 6". If you plant them to this depth, you'll get exactly what you're describing. It's too late with the batch you have now but, with future bulbs, plant them to 12" deep. They will flower a bit later but will continue to flower year after year instead of the one-and-done that most tulips do.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 3:30PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

Not to gloat, but unless you live in the "perfect" climate for tulips, they don't reliably perennialize. Darwin Hybrids and some species tulips do the best, but even they aren't 100% reliable.

Only if you live in a climate essentially similar to Central Asia (and the cold parts at that), can you expect tulips to perennialize to any significant extent. That means hot, baking, dry, low-humidity summers, and cold (as in freezing), dry winters with intermittent snow cover. I live and garden in just such a climate: the cold high desert of Northern Nevada. And even then, tulips tend to bloom beautifully for a year, bloom more weakly the second year, take one or two years "off" with just foliage, and then return, increased, to their full beauty after their "rest" years.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 3:42PM
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oriunda(UK & Italy)

I have to agree that climate helps. I have 2 gardens, one in the UK and one in Italy. Both have tulips, but only in the UK have they really bloomed year after year. This year has been particularly stupendous, whilst last year was pretty rubbish. In Italy they came up this year, but achieved no height. I think in Italy (where I am is very hot) the temp is just too warm. They need a decent period of cold to get them started. Think about the climate of Holland, where tulips are grown commercially, and then compare to your own climate.

That said, you might find your tulips could refresh if you dig them up, and perhaps replant in a cooler, shadier place?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 6:43AM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I'm a digger. I dig up tulips from year to year and they do well. In theory everything they need is prepared the year before.... but mine seem to bloom best if dug each year and replanted in the fall. If I manage to do that then most every tulip bulb re-flowers the next year. I don't plant all that deep, usually only as far down as the trowel easily goes.

But..... one tulip that does extremely well for me with just about zero care is pink impression. Blooms again and again even as the other darwin hybrids turn to single leaves/no blooms. Best variety by far.... I wonder how well the sports of pink impression perform.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 12:01AM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

I second Pink Impression. I have had 100% bloom for three years. Planted many more this year because of this success.

And the are the biggest, tallest tulip in my garden. The flowers get to be about 4 inches tall:

I keep meaning to try Red, Salmon or Apricot Impression to see if they are the same way. Are these the sports that Kato was referring to?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 10:03PM
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I never dig my tulips, they do come back every year, but get smaller each year. They finally quit coming back after about 6 years. Perhaps by planting them deeper as one person suggests is the way to go.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 11:38PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

My, I am Impressed with the Pink Impression. Thanks for posting your pics.

Sue...making note to self...need to get some Pink Impression tulips

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 8:43AM
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jardinier_79(PA 6)

I was very surprised to read the comments on fading tulips. The previous owners were avid gardeners and we've inherited quite a collection of flowers. About 25-30 tulip bulbs were planted in our front yard no less than 10 years ago and they've bloomed beautifully for the past four years. Some get dug up when I plant my annuals, but I see no effect on the blooms. Maybe that's proof that digging them up is a good thing? Now I'm even more thankful for our faithful and lovely tulips.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 2:50PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I can't wait for my newest pink impressions to bloom. I bought the jumbo bulbs and can't wait to see how big jumbo is. I hope they come close to Ladychroe's!

yes, I was thinking of the red, salmon and design impression when I mentioned sports. I even think Scheepers sells them as a collection....... hmmmmm.... what could be easier? I'll have to keep it in mind this fall.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 9:05PM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

Here are some Pink Impression pics from this year. The color is not as bright as it appears in these photos. Also, the blooms open the size of a regular tulip and continue to grow until they are the size pictured here.

With unnamed HD daffodil:

With Tulip "Daydream", which starts out yellow and turns orange (love it!):

It's funny how they open up wide to catch the sunlight. They must be 6 or 7 inches wide when they do that:

With Eunomyous "Emeralds and Gold?"

I think I might have more on my camera that I will update later, here's my album:

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 10:41AM
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hey, lady ... i looked at every SINGLE one of your pictures! ... thanks for posting them; i loved all your spring color ... you have inspired me; i have NO spring bulbs whatsoever (except a few muscari)

btw, my absolute favorite tulips were the coral/orange that you said your husband loves & you HATE (grin) ... i think they would be the perfect contrast to the blue muscari ...

thanks, phyl

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 2:20PM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

Hahaha, isn't that funny, Phyl? Feel free to come over to NJ, dig them up and take them home. Bah! good riddance!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 9:27PM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

Ya know, posting all those photos isn't kind...LOL.

I second the motion on those tulips you dislike...they're gorgeous.

To think last week I said I'd never buy another *%$@#$ bulb in my life.

After seeing some of mine bloom and then seeing all the posted photos the "bulb bug" has bitten hard.

Even though most tulips didn't turn out to be the colors on the packages and/or in catalogue (not even a different shade...totally different) and only 1 out of 24 hyacinths was the color ordered I STILL want more to plant this fall.

Well, maybe not plant but certainly see bloom following spring.

One thing I'm not going to do is space mine as far apart. Followed planting instructions but they look all scattered about instead of like a cohesive planting. Someone told me they'll "spread" in their second year and not look so sparse.

Thanks for beautiful pics. That Phlox subulata looks great with bulb blooms.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 9:02AM
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hey, lady ... here i come; racing for new jersey ... hey, no fair, newbie is FROM new jersey ... she is sure to beat me! ... plus, i don't think your husband would give them up to either of us! (grin)

phyl, who is lusting in her heart over your coral/orange tulips ...

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 1:06PM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

Hahaha- but you'll have to dig them up yourself! DH won't care... he points at them and grunts, "Nice." I suspect he likes them because orange reminds him of the Mets. They are from HD, by the way, and the package picture has them a coral pink color. More pink than coral, really. Totally wrong.

Thank you for the nice things said about my pics. I get a little camera-happy this time of year, lol.

Here is a link that might be useful: More pics

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 8:09PM
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