Tulip and Hyacinth Bulb Propagation
I've kept away from tulips and hyacinths because of the familiar reasons: lots of work and they don't come back reliably. However, someone told me about Darwin Hybrids, so I decided to give them a shot and also cultivating some bulbs. From what I heard, planting them deep (12") promotes return blooms from a single bulb and shallow (6") promotes producing daughter bulbs.
Has anybody else tried this with success?
I purchased 24 Apeldoorn Darwin Hybrids and 24 hyacinths on clearance late in the year; they were OK, but not in the best shape and the tulips were smaller (8 cm - 10 cm) than Top Quality size (12 cm+). I planted them in 24" x 6" x 6" plastic window planters, applied slow release high P and K fertilizer and put them outside in a sunny and exposed location. About March 1, I applied a second slow release high P and K fertilizer and as soon as vegetation broke the surface, gave them a weekly dose of liquid high N fertilizer for four weeks. Most bloomed, but not with vigor. After the vegetation withered, I moved them to a shaded and dry outdoors location and left them without water for the summer -- they were bone dry.
I did the same with a dozen tulip bulbs in clay pots, but those dried and fried. However, when I lifted bulbs the other day from the plastic planters, I ended up with a very good haul. 21 of the 24 hyacinths survived and most had up to 10 little daughter bulbs attached to the basal plate. The tulips did very well; I ended up with 19 >12 cm, 36 9-12 cm, 29 2-9 cm and 72 under 6 cm. I'll plant the 84 largest tulips this weekend and the 72 small ones are back in pots for more of the same treatment.