The Plant Lovers Guide to Tulips

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The author, Richard Wilford, spent many years looking after the general bulb collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, but travels to see species tulips growing in the wild and to the Keukenhof Gardens in Holland, sparked a passion for tulips. Indeed, it is a feature of this series that all the information included in each book is relevant.

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The editing has been very tight with the authors writing to strict guidelines and I have found this has been a very successful approach and could not but recommend these books to the gardener reader. Others plants covered in the series include dahlias, sedums, ferns, snowdrops, salvias, epimediums and asters. It would be fair to say the series is pitched at the enthusiast rather than the specialist and so will have a wide audience.

Guide to Growing Tulips

Check with your local USDA Cooperative Extension Service to find out whether any bulbs require prechilling before planting in your area. Place the bulbs in a refrigerator, away from fruits and vegetables these produce ethylene gas, which can harm the embryonic flowers inside the bulbs.

Make sure the bulbs remain dry. Once the bulbs are removed from cold treatment, plant them right away.

How to grow Tulips

Bloom occurs about six to eight weeks after planting. Discard the entire plant after bloom.


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Please note: An amber gel-like substance called gummosis is sometimes present on Tulip bulbs. It is not harmful and will not affect the bulbs' performance.

14 Interesting Facts All Tulip Lovers Need To Know

If you notice spindly stems and white or yellowish mottling or streaking of the foliage suspect a virus and dig up and destroy the bulb. Companions: Tulips are lovely with other spring bloomers and with each other. Mertensia virginica is a sweet companion and Tulips are perfect planted beneath ground covers like Epimedium or Vinca.

Underplant Tulips with Forget-Me-Nots for a classic combination. Pruning: Direct energy to the Tulip bulb by removing spent blooms and developing seed capsules. End of Season Care: Wait until Tulip leaves have yellowed completely before cutting them back.


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Many gardeners consider Tulips to be one of the best bargains in the plant world and treat them as annuals. This method relieves the gardener from having to plant bulbs deeply, not being able to water garden areas where Tulips are planted, deadheading plants, and looking at unattractive foliage for the summer.


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Mid-Spring: Enjoy the show and cut flowers for gorgeous bouquets. Watch for aphids and wash off if present. Summer: Deadhead Tulip plants to remove developing seed capsules. Do not water Tulip beds, as most varieties prefer to stay dry in summer, and keep beds weeded.

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