What to do with tulips after blooming

nrmb(z3 wiMother)April 9, 2009

My tulips are coming like crazy, in fact their getting too thick.I'd like to dig them after blooming, or should I wait till they die back. Whenever I dig them, what should I do with them. I've heard to keep them in a cool dry place then replant in the fall. Some say throw them out.I'm not good at throwing any plant away. Would like some advice. Thanks Nancy

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

I've heard to keep them in a cool dry place then replant in the fall. Some say throw them out.I'm not good at throwing any plant away.
Wait about 6-8 weeks after the bloom has faded and then dig them and let them dry some,(somewhere out of the sun) and then store in a cool dry place. I'm like you, and can't throw many things away, if I like them.

Tulips often do not do well if left in the ground. I can't say they will do any better digging them and then resetting them in the fall, but most tulips don't do well if just left in the ground from year to year.

There are however some varieties that are a lot more like perennials than other varieties.

After bloom time this spring (and after the foliage fades 6-8 weeks) I too will be digging some to see how they do next spring instead of just leaving them in the ground and hoping for the best.

Sue...chemocurl

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 11:20PM
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nrmb(z3 wiMother)

Thanks Sue, it's worth a try. If they don,t do well,then we can throw them away and not feel so bad.I do know that when we replant, a little bone meal in the holes won't hurt!!!!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 9:40AM
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jsfox(4a)

Our experience is that they always come back less than great the second year. We plant about 2200 bulbs each fall and for all of the effort this takes I prefer to gulp, spend the money, and have a great spring.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 4:26PM
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jeannie7

Mother, I'm a bit confused, you dated your message and stated that your tulips are coming like crazy.
From that I assume they are showing themselves at the surface...not that they are actually blooming.
If the 3 means anything, I also assume you are in a zone 3 area---and I cant envision ANYTHING up yet...I'm in zone 5 and my tulips are just letting us know where they are---and have been for more than a dozen years.

I don't think zone 3 is any different than my zone and you need not dig them up for storing or taking them indoors or thinking they need to be re-planted at a later date---they are quite happy to be left where they are, let them go brown sending their startches back down into the bulb and they will come back up next year.

A mulch can be important if they ARE up somewhat and you fear a late frost will do them harm. The mulch, about 2", will help the soil retain its temperature and protect the bulb from a severe frost.
Anything that does come up, and is hit by a frost, might harm what's up---but the bulb will know not to go any further until temperatures change for the better.

And...in the fall, they do not need any protection--once the foliage has withered completely, it can be removed and the bulb is safely ensconced in its warm, cuddly soil until next spring.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 7:48PM
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nrmb(z3 wiMother)

Jeanne7, When I said my tulips were coming like crazy I meant exactly that!!!They are about 7 inches high with buds,and have been snowed on about 4 times with no damage.I'm on the border of zone 3&4.If your from Ontario, your farther north and colder than I am and its not surprising you have no green foliage.
Anyway my question was (which you did not answer) what to do with bulbs after I dig them. I plant them in clusters of 3 to 5 bulbs and they have become too thick and I know from experience they dwindle in size and number when this happens.
No matter, SUE & jsfox answered my question in a very nice way. Thanks Guys!!!!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 9:06AM
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calistoga_al

If you want to be sure that they will bloom next year you can measure and separate them by size before replanting. I have found that any that measure at least 12cm circumferance are large enough to bloom reliably. Smaller bulbs can be planted in a nursery bed to grow to blooming size. Al

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 9:48AM
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