Growing tulips in Raleigh

etc81(8)November 3, 2007

I just bought 3 bags of tulip bulbs at Home Depot and the cashier told me, as she handed me the receipt, that she hear that tulip bulbs don't come back a second year in our area (Raleigh, NC). She said that hers didn't even come up a first year. Does anyone know if this is true or how to prevent problems? Tulips are my favorite flower and I've waited so long to finally have my own home and be able to plant them.

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Check with your local county extension office. I doubt if you will have enough hours of chilling if you plant them now as is. Here we require at least 6 weeks of chilling in a refrigerator containing no fresh fruit, before planting in the garden. If this is not done most will not bloom and those that do will be so short as to have no stem. Al

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 10:04AM
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The ability of tulips to perennialize (come back annually) has been sacrificed by excessive hybridization. Species tulips tend to be the most reliable for this perennial trait, although some hybrids (eg. Darwins) will return and rebloom for at least a few years, more so if you provide them with drier summer conditions. Generally, hybrid tulips are treated as annuals and replanted each year.

And I'd also suggest investigating the need for prechilling before planting. It's not necessary in my zone 8, but winter conditions can vary widely and southeastern US zone 8's generally recommend prechilling before planting. And I'd consider 6 weeks a minimum - 8 would be better.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 10:45AM
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I've been gardening in piedmont NC for more years than I want to tell. Your tulips should bloom very well next spring. I am assuming they are darwin hybrids or something like that - the big tulips. They will come back, but smaller and less of them each year until they die out. I treat them like annuals - EXCEPT for the species tulips - they will usually come back and even multiply. Try some lady tulips - tulip clusiana - next year. You will have to mail order them as all you will find in the stores are the big hybrids. But the species do quite well and will be in your garden for years. Denise in Chapel Hill.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 1:12PM
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I live outside Greensboro and planted more tulips last fall (my 2nd year). Last year 100% of the tulips I planted came out. This year, only 1 group of the 1st years tulips came out. Is the largest factor the soil type, the amout of moisture or the type of tulip that will cause them to return yearly?
In this area, should they be watered on a weekly basis or at all?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 10:44PM
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