Tiny Tulip Bulb Question

redthreaddiy(6a MI)May 17, 2010

I have lots of tiny Tulip bulbs. We had really heavy rain last week, and I had them in a planting container. I dug them up to check on them, and about half of them were really soft, which I'm assuming means that they are rotten.

Is there a way to save these maybe rotten bulbs? Should I cut them in half and see?

Do I plant these the same way I would the mature bulbs, or do I have to plant them in a special way?

I want to save them, but I have no idea how!

Below are some photos, to give you an idea of what I'm talking about!

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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

If you have access to a decent patch of dirt (that doesn't turn into a swamp if it rains, or become concrete over summer)

then go to the next step after tipping out your little bulbs.

I noticed in your pictures that some of your bulbs are a bright brown. Usually they'll be healthy.

There were some with dark, thick overcoats and they might feel squishy. Carefully peel open the coat and you may either find a shrivelled, corky bulb remainder - or one/two little new bulblets.

If they are corky, discoloured yellowish or brown, maybe with blue-green mould - send them out with the garbage or even burn them if you can.

If they are really small (pinky fingernail or smaller) plant them in a container at least four inches deep. Use a free-draining mixture, preferably with about a 1:4 of sharp grit to the standard potting medium you use. DO NOT add 'water crystals'. Then place them in a cool site in your yard. Summer rain is fine - just not daily or weekly watering unless you have useful weeds, such as little pansies growing in the pot as well, to take up the surplus water.

When autumn comes you can add some six-month slow release and, perhaps, give them a bit of cossetting so the small pot doesn't freeze all through. You could plunge the entire pot into a garden bed to wait out the winter so long as the soil there isn't likely to go cluggy with the extra moisture.

For the bigger ones - plant them out in rows in your good patch of dirt and put bird-proof labels at either end.

FWIW - here we are 'supposed' to plant out Tulips in May to catch the cooling weather and get them off to a good start for the winter. (Winter for me includes lots of rain and not much frost). I had left some little bulbs in over the summer and 'forgot' where I'd put them. Last month I was turning in some compost and - dug up the bulbs. They had already started into root growth. I tried telling them they were 'early' but they haven't read the books, and I did.;-))

Because they're quite little you've got a better chance of keeping them plump and ready to grow if they're in the ground or similar. If they go in a fridge for the summer then they're likely to dehydrate like a forgotten carrot in the vegie bin. Often they'll do that if they're put into nets, too.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 6:43AM
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