Disappointing results in year 2 with Darwins

redsox_gwApril 22, 2011

I do not have much experience with bulbs so I asked around on the forum for bulbs that have a better chance of being perennial. We don't have time or resources to plant bulbs as annuals.

We love tulips and we chose Giant Darwins from a very reputable bulb company. The first year was great....of 50 planted, we had about 49 come up and bloom. Year 2 was not so good. Honestly, part of our problem was that some of them were eaten when in bud. It was really hard for me to tell how many were eaten in bud and how many just didn't bud. We probably had 20 blooms in total.

Another area of our yard is very wooded (under trees that leaf out later) and had a couple of dozen tulips inherited with the house. We pay these no attention whatsoever and they are of a very mixed variety. Some of this, some of that. They come up EVERY year. No faltering. This is very strange to me as the Darwins are supposed to be so much more reliable.

We have alkaline clay soil. What do you recommend?

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

Honestly, part of our problem was that some of them were eaten when in bud. It was really hard for me to tell how many were eaten in bud and how many just didn't bud.

According to the link below:

A. EVERYTHING eats tulips, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, deer, groundhogs...the list of malicious masticators is virtually endless! But you don't need a positive ID--just a good strong deer repellant! Spray it on the emerging greenery as soon as it pokes up next Spring, and reapply weekly. .

They come up EVERY year. No faltering. This is very strange to me as the Darwins are supposed to be so much more reliable.
Might those in the woods be a mix of the species tulips?
Some species tulips

What do you recommend?
hmmm....since 'nothing' eats daffodils, I'd suggest you planting some very late cultivars of daffodils in place of the tulips, or plant the tulips closer to the house where they might not get eaten off.
Sir Winston Churchill is a late daffodil, that is just now beginning to fade a bit, and its blooms are fragrant, last a long time, and it is a good multiplier.

Sue

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardens Alive

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 8:47AM
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redsox_gw

Sue, thanks for the article. The only issue with the deer repellent is that we have had an extraordinarily rainy Spring.

I don't believe the tulips in the wooded area are species: aren't those smaller? A few of them are even parrot tulips.

I know the pests don't eat daffodils, but we do have quite a few planted (they came with the house). Are there any other bulbs that are not bothered by pests?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 9:13AM
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scgekg(Z5 NY)

I have moderately good luck with hyacinths (not as good as daffs much better than tulips) in returning and not being eaten. Successive year flowers seem to have sparser flower heads. Also corydalis as a short woodland bulb and hellebores (not a bulb but flowering about the same time. Since the daffs are so reliable, I do keep adding more of them and few of other things.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 9:52AM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

How about moving the darwins over to the wooded area? They would probably appreciate the soil there more. I'm going to guess there are leaves that don't get raked, and these break down to nourish the soil, break up the clay and in turn grow good tulips.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 12:59PM
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Nancy zone 6

I'm not sure what the deal is with tulips. I've tried Darwins too, they were worse than other tulips. They bloomed fairly well the first year, nothing the 2nd year & even the foliage disappeared by year 3. When we first moved here 16 years ago I planted tulips for a couple of years, then read that they don't bloom much after the 1st year. True for most of them, but I still have something less than a dozen that bloom, one a fancy parrot tulip & another fancier type. I have a very few of the species & just love them. Much smaller than regular tulips though, but very cute.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 8:00AM
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flowergirl70ks

I learned this from my Dad years ago, he was from Switzerland. Bulbs need fertilizer!! I fertilize when they break ground and again when bloom time is over. It gives me good results.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 6:49PM
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redsox_gw

Please tell me more about the type of fertilizer that you would all recommend. Maybe it will help but I never fertilize the wooded area where they come up every year (but the deciduous trees above may fertilize for me).

My Husband is not going to be too happy with our investment, also the 100 muscari we planted in front of them did not even come up.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 9:25AM
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