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Recently planted bulbs (tulips?) already coming up

Posted by brit5467 7 VA/NC border/coast (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 11, 09 at 19:45

I've got bulbs coming up that I JUST planted and I'm freaking out. Will this cause them to not bloom in spring?

Heres the situation. I bought several types of tulips from Holland Bulb Farms on 11/1. Planted the Saxatilis with other bulbs on 11/8, all in the same general area, somewhat mixed together. Heres what I planted. Im being so detailed in case it's helpful in answering me:

Saxatilis Botanical Tulip (link to pic at bottom)
Mixed Narcissis
Daffodils (had already, dug up, replanted)
Blazing Star (Liatris Spicta)

About 20 or so are already coming up!! Some are about 1 " and I can tell they're tulips because of the way they're unfurling. The rest may or may not be tulips. Not tall enough to know yet. But I did notice some sprouts looked different than others.

My concern is what is going to happen with them? Will I get blooms in spring?

We've had some unseasonably warm weather since I planted, jumping around between 30 and 70. Up to 71 one day. I'm sure the poor things are just confused (and I have to say, it was exciting to see green popping up thru my mud.

I didnt mulch yet because #1, I'm not done planting. But also, was concerned about rot. That Nor'Easter came thru here IMMEDIATELY after I'd planted and it's consistently rained off and on since then. I didn't want the mulch holding in water when my ground is already mud.

I have mulch. Should I get some down right away? Cuz now that I think of it, I calculated the planting depth (as instructed on a tulip site) by including the 2" of mulch Id planned on using. Maybe thats what caused this? Too close to the surface? If so, I need to mulch other planted areas. But am concerned about the wet soil, as I said.

Sorry this is so long but its my first year with tulips. Actually with bulbs in general. In this quantity, at least and Ive never planted in the fall.

So, please -- give me all the info you have, guys !!
Thanks,
Bonnie

Here is a link that might be useful: Saxatilis Botanical Tulip


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Recently planted bulbs (tulips?) already coming up

In general early sprouting bulbs are not a big deal, but in your case it sounds like they need a bit more dirt or mulch on top of them. It's been just a couple weeks since planting and I think the growing tips are showing because the soil washed away and not because they are sprouting so much. Cover them up a bit with soil or mulch. i don't think too much mulch will be a problem, they should be able to make it up through whatever you throw their way.... except for the liatris, don't bury them much they are perennial roots, not bulbs.


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RE: Recently planted bulbs (tulips?) already coming up

Thanks kato! Now I'm gonna pick your brain. Please explain the working of a bulb. You say early sprouting bulbs is no big deal. So what happens next? Do they continue to grow until they die off from a freeze? And if so, that won't affect them blooming next year?

I guess I just thought that since tulips only bloom once that this was the beginning of that growth. And if they freeze then they won't grow a 2nd time.

And you say they need more cover. Does that mean normally they'd still be doing this growing under the ground? And if so, does that mean they'd still have sprouted in a few weeks anyway? I thought that they spent the winter setting root and then, prior to early, mid, or late spring (depending on the bulb type) THAT was when they started sending up shoots.

Don't mean to sound like a dummy. I just don't know how bulbs work. HELP !!


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RE: Recently planted bulbs (tulips?) already coming up

How about some info from a gal?

My concern is what is going to happen with them? Will I get blooms in spring?
Yes, they will bloom in the spring just fine.

I have mulch. Should I get some down right away? Cuz now that I think of it, I calculated the planting depth (as instructed on a tulip site) by including the 2" of mulch Id planned on using. Maybe thats what caused this? Too close to the surface?
Some folks count the mulch in the planting depth, and others don't. I think that really depends upon the plant or bulb, and the type of mulch. I would think that in your zone no more than 1" would really be needed to keep weed seed germination down and for 'looks'. I use shredded bark mulch and figure 2" equals about 1" of soil.

And you say they need more cover. Does that mean normally they'd still be doing this growing under the ground?
Yes

And if so, does that mean they'd still have sprouted in a few weeks anyway?
Yes possibly. They would however emerged somewhat later, if they they had more soil/mulch that they had to grow up through.

I thought that they spent the winter setting root and then, prior to early, mid, or late spring (depending on the bulb type) THAT was when they started sending up shoots.
Had the bulbs been planted earlier, they would have probably rooted in before starting to send up shoots. I have bulbs that have not yet been planted, so they have no roots, but several different cultivars have sent up green shoots from the top of the bulbs.

I guess I just thought that since tulips only bloom once that this was the beginning of that growth. And if they freeze then they won't grow a 2nd time.
The botanical tulips you planted are good ones for perennializing, unlike so many others.

You say early sprouting bulbs is no big deal. So what happens next? Do they continue to grow until they die off from a freeze? And if so, that won't affect them blooming next year?
The bloom bud is tucked safely inside of the bulb and will emerge at the right time. Trust me when I say that bulbs survive being planted in soil that freezes, and still continue to bloom just fine. In many area the soil freezes a lot deeper than one plants bulbs. Now a bulb just thrown into a freezer won't survive though.

I didn't want the mulch holding in water when my ground is already mud.
So long as the planting area has fairly good drainage, the bulbs should be fine. It should not hurt them to be in moist soil, with or without mulch. Often when the fall rains set in here in my area, the soil is very wet for a very long time, like maybe until it freezes for the winter.

You don't sound like a dummy. You sound like an individual who invested in and planted some wonderful spring blooming bulbs. It is common for one to be concerned that they will be all right. I can tell you will enjoy your new spring blooms so much that chances are you will be adding to them in the years to come.

Sue


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RE: Recently planted bulbs (tulips?) already coming up

She beat me to it....

even if they sprout early growth will slow down when the real cold weather hits. Like Sue mentioned, the flower is tucked safely inside and the worst you will likely see is browned tips on the leaves when they really start to grow in the spring. But you are correct in that tulips will grow once and if something happens to that growth..... well that's it till next year.

It is unusual for most newly planted bulbs to show top growth this early, that's why I think they may be a bit shallow. Normally you wouldn't see anything till spring, but (there's always a but) if the bulbs are from previous years you will often times see early growth depending on the weather.

I hope your bulbs do great this spring... you'll be hooked and we can give you all new suggestions for next year on top of the ideas you will come up with on your own!


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RE: Recently planted bulbs (tulips?) already coming up

Sue, thanks for all that info and we'll continue via email.

Kato, you're right about them being too shallow. After the feedback I got, I've decided it's because I planted them JUST before that terrible storm. With all that rain, I'm sure it beat down the newly amended soil at least an inch if not more.

I have a wheelbarrow still full of good dirt, so it wouldn't hurt to put that down prior to mulch, would it?

My biggest thing now is hindsight. I've already realize things I should done differently. The main attraction of my garden (and how it started) WAS Asiatic & Oriental lilies (A&Os) and the Butterfly (ginger) lilies, which grew way out of control. Esp. being in the front of my house. People can walk by on the sidewalk and reach out and touch my lilies.

So I dug up my entire garden to get things under control. It looked like a jungle. I was no longer getting compliments of how beautiful my flowers were. I was getting comments like, "You sure got a jungle going on there, dont you??" I got the hint. But now I think Ive Replanted things in a manner that is going to cause the same problem. I dont now how to handle those gigantic A&Os. And the gingers attracted hummingbirds. FIRST TIME ID EVER SEEN ONE. I hated to take away their flower. :o(

Thanks ever so much for your very supportive last paragraph. I meant a lot to me. I think Im ALREADY hooked and very excited to see what I end up after doing so much planning with color arrangements. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten the grasp of staggering bulbs according to bloom time. I'd thought those "saxys" as I call them (lilac & yellow) would look nice mixed in with "daffys." But without going and looking at the bloom times, I don't know if I'll end up with that.


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RE: Recently planted bulbs (tulips?) already coming up

I'm new to this forum, but had a thought or two. Yesterday, I attended a workshop by Brent Heath, the guru of daffodils, tulips and other bulbs, who lives and grows in Gloucester VA.

Brent uses a different method to plant his bulbs. He makes a 2-3" layer of compost, puts the bulbs on the compost, then covers the bulb with about 6" of mulch (3 times the height of the bulb).

Bulbs that are planted high and dry make larger, healthier plants. Rain isn't a problem. Soil compaction isn't a problem. When you plant bulbs on compost, the roots grow through the compost into the soil below. The mulch provides insulation and protection for temperature changes.

I wandered around Brent and Becky Heath's fields (link below) - everything was planted high and covered with mulch. In addition to healthier plants, this method is easier on the gardener - no need to dig holes in water logged soil. Because you use lots of mulch, your soil improves over time.

Since you live in Virginia, take a look at their schedule of educational programs. At least twice a year, they have tours of their farm and gardens.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brent & Becky's Bulbs


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RE: Recently planted bulbs (tulips?) already coming up

Thanks Pam ~ Im thinking you meant inches, not feet.right? I cant imagine 6 ft. of mulchhee hee. In any case, lets see if I got this right.

Since Ive already amended my entire garden, its pretty much a blank slate. I am planting perennials all around so with the bulbs, are you saying Id need to dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the height of the compost AND the mulch so that my mulch in that area would be level with my soil around it? In other words, Id need to dig down around 8 or 9" to end up with my mulch level with the rest of my garden, right?

And something I just thought about. With planting depthswhen they say 6", does that mean from the bottom or the top of the bulb? Because if its the former, THAT is really my problem. I planted everything way too shallow (not to mention half the dirt being compacted by that rain.

Speaking of B&B, I live in Hampton, only about 30 mins. away from them and cant believe Ive gone (well, yes I can. I dont want to go bankrupt :o). I saw them featured on "A Gardeners Diary" on HGTV , tho. Looks amazing.

My gardening friend went Friday to their 75% off sale. Wed planned to go next time they had one. But she 'snuck off' without me. She knew I was stuck home with the remains of the flu and if she that HAD told me, Id have gone anyway :o) She really enjoyed herself, if you know what I mean. Went way overboard, she said :o)

Thanks for the tip about their programs. Ill definitely check that out !! BTW, where do you live?

Bonnie


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RE: Recently planted bulbs (tulips?) already coming up

Hi Bonnie: I live on Stingray Point near Deltaville, where the Rappahannock and Piankatank Rivers flow out into the Chesapeake Bay (about 25 minutes from B&B's place). They are incredibly nice people and enjoy sharing their knowledge.

RE: the high and dry planting concept. B&B buy much of their stock from Holland and they visit at least once a year. DH and I visited Holland last summer, drove through farmland on the way to the coast. Holland is flat, and much of the country is below sea level. As a result, the Dutch have developed creative ways to farm. Here in southeastern VA, we have similar problems. Our soil isn't great. During the rainy season, soil gets saturated.

With this system, you don't have to dig holes for bulbs. You lay down a 2 to 3 inch layer of compost, put the bulbs on top of the compost, then cover them with about 6 inches of mulch. If the bulb is 2-3 inches tall, that's 6 inches of mulch from the top of the bulb. The mulch acts as insulation and moderates temperature changes.

When I took the workshop on Saturday, the warehouse sale was going strong. People were standing in line, waiting to get in. I had placed two big orders earlier that week during the 50% sale. After the workshop, I had to take a look. 10 daffs or tulips for 3 bucks! So I bought more.

With the rain we've had, the land is a muddy mess. Feels like walking on a sponge. I'm looking forward to using this technique - it will be easier and should make healthier plants.

We bought 5 acres of land just before Hurricane Isabel rolled through and took down every tree. The first step was to reforest the land, so I planted 1,500 tree seedlings. After 12-18 months, some are taller than I am. Now I need to develop a plan for different gardens. If you are dealing with the blank slate problem, you'll enjoy this post - it's like a photo essay about how to create a great garden in a few months without breaking the bank: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/wtrsow/msg1209331112080.html?8

I've learned so much in the different forums - the tree forum when I was embarking on the Reforestation project, the cottage garden and wintersowing forum.

Take care,
Pam


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RE: Recently planted bulbs (tulips?) already coming up

Hey Pam, I know exactly where you are. Think I've even been there in my younger years. Is there a State campground on the Piankatank River? That name sounds so familiar to me.

Too bad about losing all your trees. It make me sick just hearing that. I love trees. I hate seeing new housing developments where they come in, raize the land to build, then go back and plant one tree in each lot.

I know B&B was really busy when my friend was there. She said you took a number and then they called you to come in, a few a time. I GOTTA get up there.

As far as the planting method, I get it now. You basically have mounds in the garden. You do all this ON TOP of the soil, right? That would actually look quite nice. Give some dimension to the garden, make it look more natural.

But how does it work with regards to rain and watering? Wouldn't they dry out faster since they're above the ground? I don't mean to sound dense about this.

I'm even thinking of digging up what I've already planted (since I know they're sitting in soaking wet MUD with clay underneath) and start over. I wasn't really happy with how I put them in anyway. Would it hurt them if they've been in for just over a month now ?? (And of course, I have the ones sprouting.) I really WOULD like to dig them up.

As far as that link, I didn't check it out yet. But just FYI, next time post the link (shortcut) into the "Optional Link URL" box below your message, then name it. Because even tho my email showed it as a link, as you can see in your post it didn't show up that way.

No biggie. I'll post it here.

Take care,
Bonnie aka brit5467

Here is a link that might be useful: how to create a great garden in a few months without breaking the bank


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RE: Recently planted bulbs (tulips) already coming up

Wow, Pam !!! Thanks for the link, His pics are amazing is amazing. And he's not far from me so the same plants would do great here, too, probably.

Boy do I wanna pick that guys' brain. He's done all the hard work, researching it all. I wanna do a 'mind-meld' (you'd have to be a StarTrek fan to get that) and just suck his brain dry...LOL.

Take care,
Bonnie aka brit5467


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RE: Recently planted bulbs (tulips?) already coming up

I feel validated. All those people were calling me lazy when I raked out topsoil, put the bulbs on top and then covered with mulch... ok so maybe I am a little lazy- but maybe not! Maybe now I can call myself inovative! -or I can call it "dutch style" planting! lol

It took me twice before I found the B&B pictures... the first time I went to the site all I noticed was '50% off forcing bulbs'.... of course I needed to take a look and check things out. A couple $6 amaryllis were calling my name, but then the ones out in the garage called a little louder and I realized I only have so much room for winter bulbs.... how sad.


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