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questions about perennial tulips from Brecks

Posted by philly_gardener 6 PA (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 5, 06 at 12:00

I am really new to tulips. I thought all tulips are perennial, however from the posts I read on this forum, it seems that they may split an dmay not bloom in the second or third year.

Last year, I bought 60 "perennial" tulips from Brecks. In the catalog, Brecks says the "perennial selections" will come back year after year. I know I can wait till next year to make sure what they really are. But I am just curious, do you have any past experience with Breck's "perennial selections"?

I am in zone 6, near Philadelphia area.

Thank you very much!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: questions about perennial tulips from Brecks

  • Posted by deeds1 the far SWUK-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 5, 06 at 13:14

If you want truly perennial Tulip species you have to go for the species, rather than the dutch hybrids I'm afraid.

RE: questions about perennial tulips from Brecks

Most of those tulips might give you two years of blooms if they were planted in well drained soil. You mihgt get a third year on some. After 4-5 years, they'll be gone, if your planting condition is anything like mine.

I read that in certain parts of North America and in the right condition some tulips do come back year after year ---not in mine. If I remember correctly, people in Colorado/Utah are those lucky folks.

As deeds1 said, you'll get perennial tulips from the species which are much smaller and more delicate than the giant Dutch hybrids.

RE: questions about perennial tulips from Brecks

If you plant them 8-10" deep, you will get more years of blooming. They won't split so easily if planted deeply.

RE: questions about perennial tulips from Brecks

Most tulips are reliably perennial in the right conditions. A few grow well in a wider range of conditions. Brecks perennial mix appears to be mostly darwin hybrids or similar, about as tolerant as you can get from a big hybrid. You'll never know if they work for you until you try. Just because someone else can't grow them doesn't mean you won't have better luck :)

On the other hand, relatively few people in the mid-atlantic get good results with tulips. And Brecks are not the best-regarded online supplier.

RE: questions about perennial tulips from Brecks

Two Falls ago I planted 45 Darwin hybrids from Breck's (Red), and they are about to bloom, every one, for the second year in a row. I planted an additional 45 last fall, and they are all doing well.

My daffodils from Breck's which are in their second year, on the other hand, have sprouted leaves but no flowers! I planted some new daffs from Breck's last fall, and they are all in bloom now.

RE: questions about perennial tulips from Brecks

My red Darwins from Brecks all bloomed the first year. This year, I'm only getting about 30% of the first year's yield. They're in a sunny, well-drained spot, and I fertilzed them last year, but most of them are now single-leaf plants with two or three coming out where one, larger plant was last year. It's not really Breck's fault; the conditions just aren't right for them.

RE: questions about perennial tulips from Brecks

Over many years of gardening, most of the tulips I have planted have failed to return well after their first season. I have had some Pink Impressions, and one small patch of Gregii tulips return for 3 seasons. But by and large, no matter where I have planted them, only a few return the 2nd year and I mostly treat them as annuals.

However, I did buy 2 dozen Perennial tulips from White Flower Farm which I planted in a raised bed. They have bloomed for me for 4 straight years. This will be spring number 5. Too early to tell if/or how many will return this year, but the early foliage is quite thick and healthy looking. I had 29 big fat blooms last year.

perennial tulips

Does anyone know if Fosteriana perennialize better than Darwin?
I have a large bed of red tulips that have come back fairly reliably - I didn't cut the flower stems before they started to drop leaves last year - what a mistake! they have come back feebly this year. It might have something to do with the snowless winter, followed by 3 days in the 90's in March, then back to normal winter/spring temps...
That said, the bed is about 8 years old and it has been a pleasure every year. I want to add more bulbs in this fall to compensate, so 16" Fosteriana or 20" Darwins? which have better longevity?

RE: questions about perennial tulips from Brecks

Yes, the Fosteriana, Greigii and Kaufmannia tulips are generally 'more' perennial than Darwins. But, in the right conditions, nearly all tulips are perennial - mine are in sandy soil, baked all summer, in arid East Anglia (similar to Holland) and all of my tulips have been perennial(coming up to 10 years) although they tend to shrink in size a little - imo, a good thing as East Anglia is also windy. I don't know what you mean by cutting the flower stem. Why? I deadhead so the seeds don't develope but do nothing about the stems.

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