Tulips - flowering fail

Campanula UK Z8April 6, 2013

I caught the very end of a bit of TV news where a tulip grower was bitterly lamenting this cold spring. He said that flower initiatioin had failed because of the very cold weather and now, it was too late in the year for any blooming.
Needless to say, I raced outside and fumbled feverishly amongst the tulip foliage and nope, no sign of incipient buds for me either.
Having around 3000 on my allotment, the tulip season is one of the great highlights of my growing year. I know the bulbs will be OK (next year) but what a dreadful downer.
Am I being a terrible pessimist (this has never happened to me before) and can anyone shed any light on this phenomenon.

This has been an awful spring - bits of Norfolk have dropped into the sea as a result of relentless battering easterly winds!

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auron22(6b OH)

I agree, spring here has also been dreadful. Temps are well below average. Days are warming up again and might finally become stable. So far none of my tulips have tried to flower, but i would wait...perhaps they are capable of blooming a little late? The local botanical garden seems to be struggling getting anything to come up (besides the ones that come up in snow anyway). I have a neighbor whose most important time of year is also her tulips.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 9:00AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I wouldn't give up yet. Springs have been generally getting colder here over the past few years and last spring was quite cold - maybe not as cold as this one, but cold.
My mini-botanical tulips start blooming anywhere from mid-April to the end of April, depending on how warm the spring is. (no sign of flowers on them yet....) The larger tulips - e.g. the Darwins - can start blooming in early May in a warm spring but not until the second or third week in a cooler one.

As long as you get a few sunny, warm days soon, I doubt that the tulips will fail completely.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 12:46PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

How long ago did you plant these tulips and what sort are they?

After a few seasons some of the hybrid tulips can peter out. For many years I couldn't figure out why people said tulips didn't grow long and they had to replace them. After growing a bunch I must agree now. Some hybrids do last for years and years without fail, while others dwindle in only a couple. My 'Sensual Touch' (a TULIP cultivar! Let's not get any ideas here folks, lol) and 'Ice Cream' tulips hardly put out a flower second year. Sad! Especially since those two were some of the $$ bulbs I've ever gotten... :-P

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 1:37PM
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Campanula UK Z8

I have been growing them over a decade - they really like the light sandy soil and open sunny aspect and have been reliably perennial for me so I would be hugely disappointed for them to come up blind. At least there is always next year and I haven't totally given up on them yet but I do think there is a chance of failure once daylight triggers a certain stage of growth without the requisite temperature. As I said, this was news to me having not come across this particular problem before.
I have many species (batalini, humilis, chrysantha, hageri and (my favourite because of the name, Vvedensky) so it will be interesting to see how they are affected (if at all).

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:55PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

My permanent ones are fine, Campanula. But some of the potted ones are very stubby, although they do have flower buds coming. Just bog standard greigii and some Darwin-types. Today the sun came out!!!!!!! Things seemed to have grown in just a few hours.

That said the daffs have lasted about 7 weeks in a suspended bloom time.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 5:05PM
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Campanula UK Z8

I know, I still have snowdrops blooming!

Living in hope for the tulips (thanks for the heads-up, Flora) - along with roses, they are my major single genus obsession. Finding Peter Nyssen bulbs back in 2005 (buying bulbs by the 100...and cheaply too) removed 'moderation' from my vocabulary, overnight.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 5:55PM
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