Advice needed for my Sis on tulips

tinawina13(z8 Alabama)February 15, 2006

Hi there! My sister lives in Birmingham. She recently bought a pot of blooming tulips and called and asked me if she could plant them when they finish blooming. Here in the Montgomery area, tulips are usually a one year shot, but she said her neighbors comes back every year. I don't know if folks in B'ham have better luck with them that we do down here? Any advice would be much appreciated!

As always,

Happy gardening,


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Yes the bulbs can be planted and they will come back..

Tell your sister not to plant the bulbs in Alabama clay unless she amends the soil first...If she is in Birmingham the soil should be the black soil which is very rich and bulbs will easily pop up next spring and or bloom for her again this year, after she replants them. She can force the bulbs to bloom again if she puts bloom booster plant food on them after she plants them outside.

The bulbs will grow in Alabama Clay it is just hard for them to multiply/make more flowers next year..

To amend Alabama Clay for bulbs...the soil should be mixed with leaves, mulch or peat moss and the bulbs should be given bulb food...The area should never be allowed to harden and dry out..And some insect control should be added to the soil twice a year, once in spring and once in fall.

Grubs are the enemy of bulbs.

Weeds should be strictly controlled and the area should be covered with surface mulch to hold in moisture..Cedar mulch will help to repel insects. She should also find a Perennial that she likes that will come up after the bulbs are done blooming.. Something like Day lily or Hosta..Depending on the sun exposure of the area...Black eyed Susan is a good plant for full sun,,,but if not controlled around the bulbs it will take over..

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 10:47AM
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Hey Tinawina!

Based on my experience they are unreliable at best. Growing tulips as perennials here ain't worth the trouble of diggin' a hole to plop 'em in.

My suggestion would be to trade 'em to a naw-thun-uh (or donate 'em to a foodbank for homeless chipmunks).

Nelson ;-)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 8:12PM
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My neighbor had the same experience as Nelson. Has anyone tried the species tulips? They are smaller and less showy than those from Holland, but they are supposed to come back. HCG sells them.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 10:33PM
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Species tulips- no go in NC in past

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 9:37AM
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I have a lot of bulbs in my yard...I started with minature Daffodils..These are planted in Alabama Clay. They have multiplied every year with 3 or 4 new bulbs. I use them as a border and they are reliable and lovely. I also have one flower bed that I planted red tulips in. The soil in the tulip bed is completely replacement soil, meaning there is NO clay in it..This bed does better the bulbs multiply to give me new bulbs, usually 5-10 each year..I get a lovely sea of red every spring...I have Day lily planted in both areas so that the garden's have something there throughout the warm season. I have a lot of wild areas on the back of my property..I am clearing a wild area right now..That is 50' X 11' and I am turning it into a flower garden...2 years ago I threw about 100 crocus out there, because I decided I did not like them...As I was clearing this wild area I found the crocus happily coming up. This area is very soft..I would guess because it has been covered with leaves for so long. I also have Iris planted in Alabama Clay, they come up and bloom every year but do not multiply. I am moving all my iris into my New area where I plan to amend the soil with paper, and leaves and some black soil. I am hoping they will split/multiply for me. I use to think bulbs were silly too, because they only give color to a garden for a short period of time...I now find that I anticipate the spring bulbs coming up and enjoy them welcoming spring.

To me bulbs represents spring...

Underground insect control is crutcial to bulb success in Alabama.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 9:50AM
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