Often you are told that a Tulip bulb is just for one year. True, a Tulip is no perennial, but with a little effort it is possible to enjoy a Tulip bulb for more than one season.

I will explain how you can get a Tulip to come back.

Wait till the foliage of the Tulip in your garden or on your pot has died down completely. Make sure the soil in the period of time between blooming and dying down remains moist. This is the time that e new Tulip bulb is growing in the ground and for this also water is essential.

Uitgebloeide tulpen
Bos uitgebloeide tulpen

You often read that you should remove the Tulip flowers once they are over to prevent the Tulip from developing seed buds. This way the Tulip cannot spend energy on growing seed instead and the bulb will grow better. I never do this, quite often the Tulips do not make seed buds and when they do, I find the buds quite ornamental.

Once the Tulip has died down and the foliage is brown you can dig the Tulip bulbs. You will see that the Tulip bulbs look quite different than the Tulip bulbs you planted last fall. She is dark and cover with some layers of old pelts. These are the leftovers from the Tulip bulb you planted last fall. During her growth to a Tulip flower she completely consumed the old bulb to show up as a flower as good as possible.

When you peel these old skins away you will find a nice shining new Tulip bulb. This is the bulb that grew in your garden or pot after the Tulip has bloomed.

Gepelde tulpenbollen

All the old skins need to be removed; peeling the Tulips. Make sure you do not damage the nice brown skin of the new Tulip bulb. This skin is needed to protect the bulb from bruising and drying out.

You certainly will run into a couple of little bulbs. Sometimes two or three per bulb but often less. I always throw out these little ones since they will not bloom next year. You have to care for them at least two years to see a flower. Is also happens that you will only find little bulbs and no big ones. When this happens, the growing circumstances were not ideal for the Tulips. Best thing to do is purchase new bulbs.

Put the peeled Tulip bulbs in an airy bag and hang them somewhere in the shed, garage or in your house. I prefer to hang them to make sure they are airy, and mice cannot reach them.

Tulpenbollen drogen

You might wonder why you cannot leave the Tulip bulbs in the soil. In the Soil it is too cold for Tulip bulbs. During the months of summer, inside the Tulip bulb, a new miniature Tulip is formed; the new Tulip that will be blooming nest spring. For this the Tulip needs a temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius. Often soil tempratures are colder. There are some Tulip varieties that develop flowers at lower temperatures, often these are species Tulip or closely related to the species tulips.

Often the soil also is too moist for the Tulip bulbs, they might get infected by funguses or start rotting. And all kinds of animals and insects can start eating the bulbs.

Doorsnede tulpenbol
Spruit tulpenbol

In October – November, when the leaves are falling of the trees, you can plant the bulbs again. Out of the nose of the Tulip bulb you will see some green emerging. When you would peel the bulb open you will find a complete Tulip in miniature size. This Tulip has grown inside your garage in the heart of the bulb during the months of summer.

If you are going to try to save your Tulip bulbs for another year, I wish you the best of luck. I hope you will succeed.

Best regards,

Carlos van der Veek

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