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14. Greigii Another short (8 to 12 inches) addition to early spring garden (late March to early April), striking wavy edged foliage provides a perfect backdrop for an eruption of upright blooms that stand amidst a frame of flared-out petals.
15. Species The last and least? This group is truly dwarf (4 to 12 inches) of tulip family. However, they’re easy to naturalize and their cheery blooms repeat year after year anytime from March to May, some varieties even seeding themselves freely! They are definite proof that good things come in small packages!
Planting tulip Bulbs
Although grown in Holland since late 16th Century, tulips are native to mountains of Turkey. There, winters are cold, spring rains are plentiful and they have cold winters, plenty of water in spring, and rest of year is well… hot! Tulips need warmth of summer sun to ripen next year’s flower buds. However, they need cold of winter to rest for their lively emergence in spring.
Generally, unplanted bulbs are difficult to keep over winter. Once evening temperatures dip to 50F, it’s time to put them in ground. Fall is also best time to nourish your tulips. Before you begin planting bulbs, work nutrient rich compost through your soil. Although bulbs will grow in nearly any type of soil, richer your soil is, bigger your bulb lift will be next summer. Good drainage is another crucial factor in keeping bulbs healthy.
Plant bulbs two to three times their height. For compact displays, plant them closely together, but not touching. The root side of a bulb is more rounded side; pointed side is part that will open and sprout foliage and flower.
Container Tulip Tips
Choose container size according to height of your cultivar and density of your bulb planting. Plant bulbs same as you would garden grown-tulips, making sure there is at least ½ inch of soil below planting.
Plant tulips for indoor forcing in September and October. Place pots in a cool garden spot (outdoors) and cover them with an inch of clean soil. When top growth is about ½ -inch to 1-inch, transfer them indoors to a darkened area with a maximum temperature of 60F. Let stems lengthen for about three weeks and return them to a lighted area with a slightly higher temperature.
Use fresh soil-based potting mixtures only. Peat based mixtures may burn roots of your bulbs and soil less mixtures dry too quickly.
If putting containers outdoors, protect them from severe frosts particularly when combined with penetrating winds. Store them in a cool area like your garage or wrap with sacking or straw and cover them with plastic bags until weather is more tulip-friendly.
It is essential to keep tulip containers sufficiently watered. Unlike garden grown plants, those in containers cannot seek for water deeper within their environment. Dry pots result in stunted and shriveled flower heads.
When tulips are done flowering, either snip stem or deadhead bloom. However, let leaves die naturally. This is time bulb absorbs nutrients it needs for next year’s growth. When foliage becomes discolored, remove it to prevent “tulip fire”, which can poison your soil. This is also a good time to lift any tulip bulbs that you want to remove from your garden.
Lifting bulbs isn’t any more complex than digging them out of ground or dumping them out of pot. Usually each bloom produces one good-sized bulb and two smaller offshoots that can be discarded. Allow lifted bulbs to dry naturally. Then store them somewhere cool in an airy container (net produce bags and burlap bags work well) to provide good circulation until next planting time.
When tulips produce foliage but no flowers, most probable cause is damage caused by slugs or snails. Although liquid slug killers are available from most garden centers, most of them are toxic to beneficial organisms and insects in your garden as well as your pets and your family. The easiest way to deter slugs from invading your tulips is to create a barrier of lava rock or diatomaceous earth around your tulips. Both have sharp edges that kill invading pests by cutting into their skin and causing them to dry up. Another effective way to control slugs is with beer traps. Partially filled cans buried up to lip will attract and drown slugs.
Linda is an author of Gardening Tips Tricks and Howto's. The next part of this article is available at our site Gardening-Guides.com
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