The tulip has been the favored spring bulb for centuries. Thriving where summers are dry and winters are cold, this bulb is treated as an annual where summers are hot and long. A genus with around 100 species, tulips are divided into 15 distinguishing divisions. Best planted in large drifts, tulips can be used in rock gardens, containers, overplantings above perennials, forced indoors, and as a cut flower. Make your selections according to what zone you live in. Largest selections are available for USDA zones 4 through 6, fewer for USDA zones 7 through 8. Bulbs grown as annuals in USDA zones 9 through 10 must be pre-cooled at 40 to 45 degrees 8 to 10 weeks prior to planting. Plant in fertile, well-drained neutral to slightly acid soil where they will receive full or at least afternoon sun. In USDA zones 7 through 10, plant in shady areas or areas with only morning sun. Plant between 8 and 4 inches deep in early fall in USDA zones 4 through 8 or late winter in USDA zones 9 and 10. If you live in an area where your tulips will be perennial (zones 4 through 6 and sometimes 7), work bonemeal or bulb booster into or around planting hole per label directions. While growing, water periodically and fertilize with a liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks. Once flowering is complete, remove spent flowers and allow foliage to yellow and wither for 6 weeks prior to cutting back foliage. Greigii and Kaufmanniana Group tulips may remain in the ground for several years, where other groups may be removed annually and stored in a warm, dry place. Replant the largest bulbs the following year, allowing smaller bulbs to grow out in nurse beds.
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Size: Height: 0.42 ft. to 3 ft.
Width: 0 ft. to 0 ft.
Plant Category: bulbous plants, perennials,
Foliage Characteristics: deciduous,
Flower Color: blacks, blues, burgundy, creams, greens, oranges, pinks, purples, reds, whites, yellows,
Bloomtime Range: Mid Spring to Mid Spring
USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 to 8
AHS Heat Zone: 1 to 8
Light Range: Sun to Full Sun
pH Range: 5.5 to 8
Soil Range: Mostly Sand to Some Clay
Water Range: Normal to Normal
FertilizingHow-to : Fertilization for Annuals and Perennials
Annuals and perennials may be fertilized using: 1.water-soluble, quick release fertilizers; 2. temperature controlled slow-release fertilizers; or 3. organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion. Water soluble fertilizers are generally used every two weeks during the growing season or per label instructions. Controlled, slow-release fertilizers are worked into the soil ususally only once during the growing season or per label directions. For organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion, follow label directions as they may vary per product.
LightConditions : Full Sun
Full Sun is defined as exposure to more than 6 hours of continuous, direct sun per day.
WateringConditions : Normal Watering for Outdoor Plants
Normal watering means that soil should be kept evenly moist and watered regularly, as conditions require. Most plants like 1 inch of water a week during the growing season, but take care not to over water. The first two years after a plant is installed, regular watering is important for establishment. The first year is critical. It is better to water once a week and water deeply, than to water frequently for a few minutes.
PlantingHow-to : Planting Bulbs
Plant bulbs at a depth that is three times their height, and at least 1-1/2 bulb-widths apart. Work a little bone meal fertilizer into the bottom of your hole, and then place the bulb upright in the hole. The more pointed end is almost always the top. If you have trouble telling which is the top, look for evidence of where a stem or roots were last year. If in doubt, plant them sideways. Fill in with soil gently, making sure there are no rocks or clods that would impede the bulb's stem. When planting a great number of bulbs, dig out an area to the specified depth, place bulbs and replace soil. This ensures that ground has been properly prepared and bulbs are evenly spaced.
Plant bulbs in natural drifts rather that formal rows: bulbs can fail or be eaten, leaving holes in a formal arrangement, or will shift with freezing and thawing. If you have trouble with gophers or squirrels eating your bulbs, try sprinkling red pepper in the holes, covering the bulbs with chicken-wire, surround bulbs with sharp shards of gravel or other substance, or planting rodent-repelling bulbs like Fritillaria nearby.
ProblemsDiseases : Bulb Rot
Improperly stored bulbs, or bulbs that are too wet in their dormant stage (usually summer), will be susceptible to fungal diseases that cause them to rot. To prevent this, store bulbs properly when out of the ground. Avoid planting bulbs in poorly drained soils. Fusarium bulb rot can be a serious problem which attacks both the growing plant and stored bulb. Usually introduced by an infected bulb, corm, soil, or even tools, the fungus enters the plant through an abrasion in the tissue. This problem is worse in warm climates where temperatures rarely drop into the freezing range and can persist in soil that stays 60 to 70 degrees Farenheit. Prevention and Control: Buy bulbs that are firm, not mushy. Avoid planting new bulbs in areas where the disease has been present. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for Fusarium bulb rot. Remove all infected bulbs and soil in the immediate area.
Pest : Aphids
Aphids are small, soft-bodied, slow-moving insects that suck fluids from plants. Aphids come in many colors, ranging from green to brown to black, and they may have wings. They attack a wide range of plant species causing stunting, deformed leaves and buds. They can transmit harmful plant viruses with their piercing/sucking mouthparts. Aphids, generally, are merely a nuisance, since it takes many of them to cause serious plant damage. However aphids do produce a sweet substance called honeydew (coveted by ants) which can lead to an unattractive black surface growth called sooty mold.
Prevention and Control: Keep weeds to an absolute minimum, especially around desirable plants. On edibles, wash off infected area of plant. Lady bugs and lacewings will feed on aphids in the garden. There are various products - organic and inorganic - that can be used to control aphids. Seek the recommendation of a professional and follow all label procedures to a tee.
Pest : Slugs and Snails
Begin looking for slugs and snails so that you may set traps.