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Low chill species tulips?

Posted by tugbrethil Z9, Phoenix, AZ (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 22, 09 at 11:52

I have had bad experience with T. clusiana in the past, but I am unsure whether it was a case of bad care on my part, bad bulbs to begin with, or if it's just a bad species for my climate!
I planted them in October, 4" deep, in sandy clay-loam, with an eastern exposure. some of the bulbs grew a few grassy leaves, but about 2/3 didn't come up at all. None bloomed, and none survived the following summer.
I have found out that my summer care, at least, was wrong, since I couldn't keep the area dry during the dormant season. I have my suspicions about the bulbs, since they were about pea sized, although I've heard that they normally have small bulbs. I have my suspicions about the species, since I haven't found any info about anyone growing them in any climate warmer than zone 8.
My main questions are: What size is a "blooming size" bulb for this species? And has anyone grown them in zone 9 or warmer? I'd also like similar info on T saxatilis and T. sylvestris.
I hope some of you Southern bulb gurus can help me.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Low chill species tulips?

I think you had poor quality bulbs. I have had clusiana cynthia in my garden for a number of years. I do replant / replenish them because I also grow caladiums there in the summer. I have the species tulips on the outside edge of a circle bed. But still, I dig around and plant other things there and grow lush caladiums in deep shade all summer long.

Still, mine return and are lovely. The bulbs are much larger than pea sized. I'm mooting around for something common as a shape. Everything I can think of (acron in it's pod from a live oak, wooden bead etc is variable.

How about this: Make a circle with your thumb and forefinger. Overlap the thumb so the thumb joint and the top joint of the fore finger are touching. That's the approximate size of the bulbs I planted.

Order from a reputable online vendor. Colorblends gives the bulb size for Lady Jane (about the same size and cynthia) as 6-7cm for Clus. Tubergen's Gem as 5-6cm these are the smallest sizes they sell.

I tried my first species tulips from a big box store in a little plastic bag. They were pea sized and never grew.

Here is a link that might be useful: species tulips


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RE: Low chill species tulips?

So, about the size of a standard marble? Mine were from Davids & Royston, via a retail nursery, about 15 years ago. I noticed that the nursery carried a different brand of bulbs the following year!
Your climate is still a little chillier than mine, but it's good to hear that they're doing so well for you!
Thanks! : ])


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RE: Low chill species tulips?

Yes! a plain old marble, only long like a football...sort of.


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