When it comes to garden design, knowing what flowers spread and which ones don’t can make all the difference. Tulips add fantastic variety to your flowerbed, but do they spread? We have done in depth research and have the ultimate answer for you.
Tulips spread through asexual reproduction. Tulips, when planted in the fall, will have 3-4 new bulbs sprouted from each “mother bulb” after a few years. The following seasons will produce more tulips and, in turn, more bulbs. Many gardeners dig up these smaller bulbs and move them to a new spot, so there is proper spacing between the plants.
Tulips are flowers that are favorites in almost everyone’s garden. While these plants are great and relatively easy to grow, it does take a little bit of know-how to make sure that the garden stays lively when these new bulbs arrive. Don’t worry! We’ll tell you everything that you need to know.
- Do Tulips Spread?
- How do Tulips Multiply?
- Do Tulips Come Back Every Year?
- How Much Space Should You Leave Between Tulip Bulbs When Planting?
- Suggested reading
- Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Dividing Tulip Bulbs
- What is Tulip Bulb Dividing?
- When is it Done?
- How is it Done?
- How to Divide Bulbs
- How should I transplant tulips which are almost blooming?
- Dividing Tulip Bulbs
- When is It Time for Dividing Tulip Bulbs?
- How to Divide Tulip Bulbs
Do Tulips Spread?
The short answer to this question is, yes! Tulips are like everything else in nature and have found a way to keep on existing. Spreading is the way that most flowers thrive! While they don’t spread like wildfire, once you plant a few, you will see the number of your lovely flowers multiplying. This multiplication requires some effort on your part.
But, before we get into that, let’s talk about the basics.
How do Tulips Spread?
Tulips are often seen and bought in the form of bulbs, so it can be slightly confusing on how these plants actually spread. Tulips have seeds and can actually be grown from them, although it takes much longer and is much more complicated. The seeds of a tulip are found within the ellipsoid capsol, which is “a leathery covering and an ellipsoid to globe shape”(Wikipedia). Whether they are seeds or bulbs, however, tulips spread by either planting or with some help from Mother Nature.
Spreading Tulips from Bulbs
Once the initial bulb has been planted, which will take place in the late summer/autumn, it will take about one year before any “spreading” has taken place. It is not until after the first bloom that there will be some baby bulbs sprouting off from the main tulip root. There will be 2-5 more bulbs. By taking these smaller bulbs and immediately replanting them a little way apart, the tulips can reproduce.
So, the way that tulip bulbs spread is by forming additional bulbs off of the original.
Spreading Tulips from Seed
To spread from the seed and not from the bulb, the tulip relies mostly on nature. This is similar to almost every other plant life out there. In an article from BBC, we know that plants rely on animals, wind, and water to carry the seed on.
So What Does This Mean for You?
Now we know that tulips are able to spread, how do we apply this to you? Well, unless you are willing to wait several years before you see anything become of your tulips, we will let sleeping seeds lie.
When it comes to bulbs, this means that you need to worry about little to nothing during the first year. You’ll just need to plant and water your tulips in good soil about 8 inches down.
You also don’t have to worry about much spreading if you plan on treating your tulips like they are annuals. Many gardeners have trouble getting their tulips to grow like they want to after the first year, so it is an option to dig up the bulbs at the end of the year and plant new ones.
But, if you want to treat tulips like the perennials they are, you should probably put in some extra effort and cut off the tops of the tulips as they die.
Around August, you can carefully dig up the roots and pull apart the bulbs. They must be replanted immediately to be viable. Try this every other year, or every 3 years for the best results.
How do Tulips Multiply?
Now it comes to the “how” of how tulips multiply. Well, as mentioned earlier on, all life on earth has had to find a way to stay here. Tulips have found that way by being hermaphroditic. This means, in its simplest form, that this flower has male and female characteristics. Basically, the can reproduce by themselves and don’t rely on another organism to help with the multiplication.
If you want to know more about the specific process of asexual reproduction, you should watch this YouTube video. It helps explain a very scientific process in a way that is helpful.
Do Tulips Come Back Every Year?
Tulips are plants that should come back every year. They fall into the category of perennial plants. However, tulips can be a bit stubborn when it comes to coming back after the first year. When trying to get your tulips to come back, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
- Check the labels – Some tulips will have a label on them that says “naturalizing.” This basically means they have been cultivated by special minds to get them to be the best than can be.
- Keep them in the ground – There are some that swear that digging up the bulbs and planting them a little later does the trick, but it doesn’t!
- Cut the heads but not the leaves – After your tulips have begun to droop, it’s time to snip off the heads. But, when doing this, make sure that you don’t cut the leaves. Leaves help with the photosynthesis of the plant!
- Remove bulbs that aren’t producing – Dig up any of your tulips that aren’t doing well and replace them with new ones!
How Much Space Should You Leave Between Tulip Bulbs When Planting?
When planting your tulips, leave 4 to 6 inches between bulbs. This way, when the bulbs take root and grow baby bulbs, they will have plenty of nutrients. Additionally, bulbs should be buried 8-12 inches down to grow properly.
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When Do Tulips Bloom?
Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Dividing Tulip Bulbs
Dividing tulip bulbs is a step that most tulip growers undertake to ensure that the bulbs remain healthy and flower for longer periods of time. Let’s find out what the process is and also how to go about it.
Whether they’re in huge fields or simply in a pot on a window sill, tulips have got to be one of the most alluring flowers ever! Their vibrant colors and simply joyful appearance can bring a smile to anyone’s face. And though they are claimed to be perennial plants, the truth is that they are more of an annual variety. Again, this depends on the kind of care and conditions that the plant is exposed to. Some people have a problem with the plant: it seems to wilt away and not flower more than once. For all of you, and also those who would like to renew the vigor with which your tulip plant blossoms the next time, you can undertake a dividing process for them and help them grow better. This Gardenerdy article will tell you exactly how to do it.
What is Tulip Bulb Dividing?
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For the uninitiated, let us first begin with the explanation about what dividing the tulip bulbs really means. As the word suggests, it means that you need to ‘divide’ or break up the whole lot of tulip bulbs and have them planted in another area. This has been known to help the tulip bulbs get healthier and as a result, have better blossoms in the next season. Different climatic conditions unfavorable soil, or improper care and handling of tulip bulbs can render the plant very weak and unable to grow properly to its full potential. Replanting the bulbs in another location helps the plant to get a renewed life and hence helps it grow better.
When is it Done?
Most people know that dividing the tulip bulbs is a good idea, but they do not know when exactly this should be done in order to help the plant reap the maximum benefits of the process. Let this be the guide for them. When your tulip plant has blossomed for the season, you can appreciate its beauty. Now, after it has bloomed for the season and when it begins to show signs of deterioration, that’s when you carry out the dividing procedure. When you notice that the plant has wilted leaves and has begun to dry out, that’s when you should divide them. If you want a season, then somewhere around the middle of summer should be fine. However make sure that the plant has already bloomed for the season. Else, you may end up damaging the flowering prospects of the plant.
How is it Done?
So, we know why and when we can divide tulip bulbs. Time to get our hands dirty and to know how exactly to go about the dividing process. Here are the very easy steps.
❀First, pick a spot for replanting the bulbs that you will be removing. Make sure that the spot you pick receives the same amount of sunlight, has the same soil (or better if that’s what your plant requires) and other similar conditions.
❀ Now, you need to remove the tulip bulbs from where they are planted. So, carefully dig up the area surrounding the plant, and once that is done, gently pull out the bulbs from the earth.
❀ You can clean off the bulbs and remove any excess dirt that has accumulated in them. Until you get the area ready for replanting, you can store the bulbs in a cotton towel.
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❀ Now, what you have to do is, dig the area that you have chosen for replanting the bulbs. When you dig, you need to ensure that the hole is as deep as the one in which the bulb was earlier planted. On an average, you may dig about 8 inches into the earth.
❀ Now, gently lower the bulbs into their new earth. Cover up the hole with mud and you may add peat moss or any other organic compound to help the bulbs grow better.
Sometimes, dividing the tulip bulbs by replanting only some of the bulbs has also proven to be effective in encouraging the plant to bloom better. So, you may want to try moving just one section of the bulbs. Remember to give the replanted ones the same care that they received in their earlier spot and they’ll reward you with lovely blooms!
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How to Divide Bulbs
If an established bulb planting has begun to bloom sparsely, the cause is probably overcrowding—and that means it’s time to dig and divide.
You’ll also need to divide bulbs if you want to make more plantings of a favorite kind. Because each of the five bulb types increases in a different way, techniques for division differ as well.
To divide true bulbs, carefully break apart the parent and the increase (smaller bulb) at its base. To divide lily (Lilium) bulbs, remove outer scales from the basal plate, dip the ends in rooting hormone, and plant.
Corms renew themselves each growing season by producing a new corm and (sometimes) small cormels on top of the old corm. To divide, separate healthy new corms and any cormels from the old corms.
Tubers increase in size and in their number of growing points as they age, but most of them don’t form separate increases. To divide, cut a large tuber into two or more sections, making sure each has a growing point.
Rhizomes produce new plants from growth points along their sides. To divide, break the sections apart at the natural divisions between them; be sure each division has at least one growing point.
Tuberous roots form multiple growing points. Some, like daylily (Hemerocallis), form separate plants that can be pulled apart; this is usually done in summer or fall, when the plant is growing. Others, like dahlia, do not separate as easily. To divide the latter, cut clumps apart so that each root has a growth bud; do the job before planting in early spring.
How should I transplant tulips which are almost blooming?
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Dividing Tulip Bulbs
A great many people love to grow tulips in their garden, and for good reason. They are very lovely flowers. While many people grow them, not many people can keep their tulips blooming for more than a few years, especially when they become overcrowded. Read on to learn about dividing tulips.
When is It Time for Dividing Tulip Bulbs?
Once in awhile a person may find that they just so happened to plant their tulips in ideal conditions and that their tulips flourish year after year. If you are one of these rare and lucky people, you may find yourself in the unusual circumstances of needing to divide the tulip bulbs in your tulip bed.
Tulip bulbs are much like any other kind of bulb. They are a self-contained plant organism. This means that they must work very hard during the spring months to store enough energy to survive the rest of the year. Moving a plant can also take some of the energy out of a plant. For this reason, you should try to divide your tulip bulbs in mid-summer to mid-fall, after all of the energy storing foliage has died back and the tulip has the best chances of having enough energy stored to survive both the move and the winter.
How to Divide Tulip Bulbs
In order to lift your tulip bulbs out of the ground, you will probably need to dig fairly deep. Most long surviving tulip beds tend to be planted a bit deeper than normal. It may be a good idea to dig carefully on the edges of your bed until you determine how deep the bulbs are planted. Once you have determined this, you can go ahead and lift the rest out of the ground.
Once all of the tulip bulbs have been lifted, you can replant them where you would like. Be warned, though, it really is difficult to be able to give your tulips conditions that they not only survive, but thrive and flourish as well. You may want to consider putting at least some tulips back in the same spot.
Wherever you decide to plant your divided tulip bulbs, there are a few things you will need to do to get your tulips to grow as best they can.
- First, make sure that you plant your tulip bulbs at least 8 inches deep. Preferably, you should replant your tulip bulbs as deep as they were planted in the original bed.
- Also, add a generous amount of peat moss to the hole where you will be planting your tulip bulbs. This will help to ensure that the bulbs will have excellent drainage, which is essential to continued healthy tulip growth.
- Add some low-nitrogen or special bulb fertilizer to the hole as well. This will help your tulips get a little extra boost of energy when they need it.
- Fill in the hole and you are done.
Hopefully, after you have divided your tulip bulbs, they will return bigger and better than ever!