For The Answer
By most accounts, tulips are the most popular flower after roses. Tulips will produce February blooms in San Antonio but they will not replenish themselves. We need to treat tulips as an annual.
Massed beds of red, yellow, pink, white or bi-colored blooms in early spring are spectacular.
Tulips will produce spring blooms in San Antonio but they will not replenish themselves, survive the summer, and rebloom next year. We need to treat tulips as an annual. Plant the bulbs in November or December for flowers in February
Express-News Weekly Column
Saturday, January 18, 2003
Submitted by Calvin Finch, Ph.D., Manager, Conservation Division, Water Resources & Conservation Department, SAWS, and Horticulturist
ENJOY TULIPS INSIDE
It has been a cold winter in terms of average temperatures, but without freezing temperatures. It is what I call “tulip weather”. Unfortunately, it is hard to grow tulips in San Antonio. They won’t return year after year because of the mild winters, and they don’t last when they do bloom because of our short, hot spring season.
There is another way to enjoy tulips: buy them as cut flowers in the florist shop or even the supermarket. The colors are unbelievable and, inside, with a few precautions, they last long enough to be worth it. Tulips forced in a container or as cut flowers will overcome the most severe case of post Holiday doldrums. Here are some hints from the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center to lengthen the life and increase the enjoyment of tulips inside:Potted Tulips
· For the longest bloom time (and most fun), select potted bulbs with shoots already “up” with fully formed buds that are not yet flowering.
· Potted bulbs can be enjoyed in their plastic or terra cotta nursery pot, but look even better if repotted or double-potted into a decorative container.
· To double-pot, just lower the existing potted plant “as is” into a slightly larger, prettier container. You can use a nice container with no drainage hole (often called a cachepot) or a slightly larger pot with a drainage hole and saucer.
· Water to keep soil moist but not soggy.Cut Tulips
· For longest vase life, buy tulips with flower heads just starting to open (the bud should be closed, but with a hint of the flower color showing).
· Before arranging tulips, condition them by re-cutting the base of the stem with a clean sharp knife. This will open up the stem’s water uptake channels.
· A scrupulously clean vase and cool water keep flowers fresh longer. A dirty vase leads to dirty water where bacteria can shorten the vase life of flowers.
· Cut flower food isn’t necessary for tulips—they just don’t need it.
· Tulips are big drinkers. Check water level often and add water daily. For longest vase life, change the water every few days. Remember, cool water keeps flowers fresh longer.
· With proper care, tulips should open and bloom for four to eight days. The biggest enemy of longevity is heat. Keep the vase away from sources of heat (including direct sunlight, radiators, lamps, and television sets).
· Tulips seem to have minds all their own, with stems that bend, twist, and turn into new positions day by day. This behavior is caused by the dual effects of continuing stem growth and the gentle pull of light and gravity on the flower head. Unlike other cut flowers, tulips continue to grow taller in the vase (as much as an inch or more!).
· Tulips (like daisies and dahlias) look at home in any type of container—from the homeliest tin to the prettiest crystal vase.
· Combining tulips with daffodils or any other members of the Narcissus family is not recommended because narcissi (daffodils) exude a slimy substance that shortens the life span of other flowers by clogging their water uptake channels.