Question of the Week: March 10, 2016
This is our first of two FAQs for this week…
“What should I do with my tulips after the flowers dry up and die?”
When it comes to tulips in Texas, we need to plant them in mid- or late December and pull and discard them after they finish blooming in March. Texas conditions are not at all conducive to tulips’ blooming in successive years. That assumes that you’re not growing the smaller-flowering species types of tulips that you’ll see in older neighborhoods.
Note: To bloom properly, tulip bulbs must be given an “artificial winter.” Give them at least 45 days at 45 degrees in the refrigerator prior to planting in mid- or late December.
And, tying for first place in this week’s FAQ:
“Why didn’t my daffodils bloom this year? All they produced were leaves.”
I could almost guarantee that you bought and planted one of the large-flowering hybrid types like King Alfred, Unsurpassable or Mount Hood. These are notorious for blooming their first year, but never again in Texas conditions. It’s not about anything you did or did not do in their care. It’s all about variety selection.
As a general rule, smaller- and earlier-flowering daffodils, narcissus and jonquils are more likely to “come back” and bloom in successive years. Some of the most reliable varieties in the South include Carlton, Ice Follies, February Gold, Geranium, Suzy, Cheerfulness and Golden Cheerfulness.
You are most likely to find these at better independent retail garden centers. You can also order online from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Virginia or Southern Bulb Company in Texas. In both companies’ cases, daffodils and tulips won’t be in their online order forms until late summer/fall.