Tulips not budding?

ellen_portland(z8 OR)April 11, 2013


About half of my tulips came up with just leaves this year, no buds. Does that just mean it is time to replace them? I don't know how many years tulips last.

I also have a few with beautiful buds, but they also have a weird "petal" that came out as a leaf just below the bud.


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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The first could indicate a need for fertilizer, the second might be due to viruses.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:50PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Need image please.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 12:47AM
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ellen_portland(z8 OR)

So, I don't need to replace the ones with no buds?? Not sure I want to be disappointed next Spring ;-) I guess I could replace AND fertilize.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 10:49AM
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Noni Morrison

Most tulips don't last long in our gardens. They are fed heavily by the bulb companies to produce one good year of bloom, then they split into many small ones that take several years to reach blooming size. Only a few will make it. Especially if you have squirrels or other beasties that love them. For a great display replant every autumn.

Or just plant daffodils who love our climate.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 11:39AM
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laurell(8 - Washington)

This is good information to have. Autumn was my first time planting bulbs and I put in tulips, daffodils and allium. I love everything that's come up so far, but am less interested in replanting every autumn. Now I know to enjoy what I have now and not be disappointed by a lack of blooms next year.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 12:16PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Supposedly the Dutch bulb companies at least have a history of pushing annual replanting in order to jack up sales. I've had the same tulips bloom for many years on some occasions. If a tulip is not being fertilized much, if at all and it diminishes down to one smaller leaf, without a flower then I would assume it is starving out - and could be brought back with fertilizer.

I was losing a clump of mixed daffodils to narcissus bulb fly until I threw some lawn fertilizer - yes, lawn fertilizer: nitrogen is the only nutrient commonly in short supply in gardened soils of this region - on them and ka-boom! big increase in vigor and productivity and no more visible bulb fly problem to boot.

This post was edited by bboy on Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 17:13

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 5:10PM
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Smaller bulbs--crocus, snowdrops, some small species tulips, come back reliably here without extra attention.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 11:41PM
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Campanula UK Z8

For the first time in a decade, many of my tulips have not initiated flower buds because of the long cold delayed spring. I have 3000 of them on my allotment and around half are blind this year despite many of them becoming almost naturalised in my sandy, sunny allotment. Next year, assuming these weird springs are not part of a wider pattern, I would expect the tulips to return with their usual vigour.
This is solely due to the cold and nothing to do with the general fad for annual planting - some of my tulips are almost 25 years old. I hear this thing about treating tulips as annuals but if the tulips are able to get a really good baking over the summer, get planted deeply (although many will develop dropper roots) and are allowed to fully die back without removing foliage, most tulips should, and will return.
We are being told to throw our bulbs away because it is in the interests of the horticultural trade to get us to spend money. The only exceptions are pot grown tulips which will split into daughter bulbs in one year (but even these can be grown on for an extra year in a bulb frame to bulk up for the following season.) If your climate is damp and cool, you can dig up the bulbs and store for the summer, replanting in the autumn.
I truly do not know how this pernicious idea has gained such traction as to become garden orthodoxy.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 6:15AM
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Noni Morrison

I'm not talking "Garden Orthodoxy". I'm talking about my experience in my garden. I used to plant 2000 a year for my cut flower business. I do have clay soil. A friend 3 miles away on sandy soil has many more tulips perennialize.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 10:35AM
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Merilia(8 PNW)

All tulips are not the same. Darwin tulips come back year after year just fine here. Unfortunately Darwins tend to be the more boring kinds, in my opinion.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 8:02PM
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gardenrescue2012(PNW USDA 8a, Sunset 4)

Sounds like they need fertilizing. If they aren't very crowded, scratch in some bulb booster fertilizer or bone meal after they finish blooming. Make sure you allow them to die off and don't cut back the leaves. You can scratch in a little more bone meal in the fall before they start rooting again.

You can also lift them once the leaves die back. When you replant them, dig the hole a little deeper and put a little bonemeal or bulb booster in the bottom of the planting hole, mix it up a little with some compost. Put a little soil on top of that before adding the bulb.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 11:00PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I have 'Golden Apeldoorn' tulips that are going on fifteen years old blooming right now. They are Darwins and while not fancy, they are pretty and certainly perennial. Lots of greigiis and little species tulips too.

There are some red and orange ones in the back yard that were in a mixed planter a long time ago that I never thought would live but they did. They totally don't go with anything...but every year, up they come.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 10:47PM
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