Tulips, leaves but no buds

ffreidlApril 12, 2007

Hi all,

I have some tulips that have come up with nice looking leaves but no buds. Is this normal for this time of year or am I going to have my 2nd year with no flowers? Anybody have any idea why they're not blooming? (nutritional issue?.. sun and drainage should be fine where they are). Anything I can do at this stage to encourage them or is it too late for this year?


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

I have found that tulips here in my area just don't do well after the first season. Some will send up foliage, a few might bloom, and others have just gone away since the prev year.

Hopefully others will chime in here.

I've sometimes wondered if I dug them after the foliage died back, and then replanted in the fall, if they might do better. Maybe they are dividing, and the bulbs grow smaller if left in the ground. Hmmmmmm....

Anything I can do at this stage to encourage them or is it too late for this year?
I doubt if there is anything that can be done. Sorry. I 'could' be wrong though.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 1:03PM
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are they early, mid, or late spring tulips? here in lansing, only the early tulips are blooming. it's too early for the others to be blooming. if you only have leaves & buds, then you should wait a couple of weeks longer to see some blooms. their not a lost cause yet, just give them time. I don't know about where you are, but here it's just too darn cold for anymore blooms right now. we're still getting snow to deal with. but, it's supposed to warm up again next week, so, hopefully they'll do better next week. I have a lot of tulips planted. they were doing really well, until the cold spell hit last week. now, they are just hanging out waiting for it to warm up. right now, I have a lot green leaves & buds. but, I know they will be fine. not to worry, your's will be fine too. you can try adding some miracle gro. it couldn't hurt.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 6:52PM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

Most tulips are not reliably perennial. You should get a few returners this year, though. It's too early to see buds if they are mid- or late-bloomers.

Try species tulips - they look different but return every year. Or just do what I do... plant oodles of new tulips every year and consider any returners a bonus.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 10:52AM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

If you feel ambitious this summer you could try digging the bulbs as the leaves begin to yellow (waiting until the leaves die back is probably better, but I could never remember where they were then)
Dig them up lay them out to dry off a couple days (out of the sun)and then break up the clumps into individual bulbs for replanting in the fall.
I do this some years and it works fine..... other years I'm just too lazy and I get what I get!
-but on the perennial note, if they are happy they'll last. I have a few Darwins that were blooming when I bought the house and have been blooming each year since (3 years). They're in a crappy spot that's shady, rooty and overgrown with english ivy....go figure!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 9:25PM
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kenny_bln(Berlin Germany)

Hello everyone tulips bury them selves deeper and deeper every year until they are so deep the leaves just make it up and no blooms. I have some that had buried them selves 2 feet deep , Kato maybe yours that are in the rooty area just can´t get any deeper. There a plastic bulb baskets that look like shallow colanders,If you can find them they work great, I have tulips beds planted just in the ground I have to take them up every year to plant other things and the areas that I can plant around I use the baskets . Now I have a question , here says use bone meal to feed , Here I cannot find bonemeal but we have hornmeal it is from the horns and holves would that be the same thing or work the same

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 4:18PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I'm glad mine don't go down to 2 feet! But I have noticed they will pull themselves up or down until they are happy with the depth.

I hear people recommending fertilizers other than bone meal.... saying it's not as good a fertilizer as it used to be Does anyone know what it is? Is it superphosphate? I usually don't bother with a specific fertilizer. Usually compost is all I use.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 2:49PM
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Thanks everyone for your advice, sympathy and odd facts.

I had no idea tulips will dig themselves down. Strange behavior for a plant! Now I'm going to think of them like some kind of mollusk... Does that mean, though, that the bud is down in there somewhere? Or do they simply stop producing them?

Aggiegrad - I think these tulips are mid-season.

When do buds actually form? I read in someone's post that when you buy tulip bulbs, the bud is actually already formed in the bulb. That seems to mean that the plant should have made it's bud months ago (over the winter maybe?).
In that case, it's probably safe to say that if the leaves are x inches high and there's no sign of a bud, which seems to be the case with mine, the bulb just didn't make one this year? My experience so far with late blooming tulips is that the whole plant actually starts later - leaves and all - so that doesn't seem to be the problem here.

Oh well! They weren't really my favorite tulips anyway, so I guess it's a good excuse to go buy some new ones. Still, once those leaves come up, I get pretty itchy to see some flower action!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 8:15PM
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I am having a similar problem. Some of my tulips that I planted two summers ago only have one really huge leaf and nothing else. Since I just planted them I know they're not too deep. I think I may have cut the leaves off in a clean-up frenzy too early last year so maybe they didn't have the energy to make a flower head. I'm going to try leaving the leaves on until they're completely dead and see if that helps next year.

Does anyone have any thoughts about fertilizer helping?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 6:42PM
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While searching the web for an answer to the problem why my tulips do not flower, I found that the problem may be that slugs are eating the shoots. It was suggested that I should use a liquid slug killer. As this is available here in the UK I am going to going to coat my blind bulbs in this and hope it works. Perhaps some one has a more green answer to this problem?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 5:45AM
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