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Tulip Cultivation Guide

Tulips or Tulipa spp. is an iconic flowering plant that fills a garden with a wide range of ruffled, fringed, and double blossoms in colours like red, pink, yellow, green, black, white, and orange. Native to Europe and Asia this plant is toxic to humans and pets.

Aarushi Chadha
Tulips Cultivation
Tulips Cultivation

Tulips or Tulipa spp. is an iconic flowering plant that fills a garden with a wide range of ruffled, fringed, and double blossoms in colours like red, pink, yellow, green, black, white, and orange. Native to Europe and Asia this plant is toxic to humans and pets.

Sunlight and Temperature

The Tulip plant thrives in temperatures between 20 and  25 degrees Celsius during the growing season. It requires direct sun during  morning whereas partial in mid-day. Cool evenings are beneficial for tulips as it improves the quality of the flower. Frost is harmful when bulbs are emerging.

Soil

Tulips thrive in rich, well-draining soil with a neutral pH to slightly acidic soil. Before planting tulips, it is advised to mix in compost as it can improve the drainage of the soil and provide nutrients to grow flowers. In matured plants, add a layer of compost before planting the bulbs. You should apply a thick layer of compost over the soil to encourage earthworms to tunnel into the soil and improve circulation, and tilth. In heavy soils, well-decomposed manure should be thoroughly mixed.

Water

As soon as you plant the plant, water it immediately. After this, water only when the soil is dry to the touch. Do not water your tulips if it rains often in your area. In arid regions, it is recommended to water every two weeks.

Fertilization

In flowering plants such as tulips, a soil that is rich in nutrients and has a balance of nutrients promotes the production of tulip bulbs. Therefore, adding organic compost, granular fertilizer, or bone meal is advised at least a month before planting the tulip bulbs. The plant needs to be fed fertilizer once again after it starts sprouting. Do not over-fertilize as it can burn the plant.

Mulching

If you live in really cold regions, then mulching can protect your tulip plants from frost. Apply a thick layer of straw mulch after a month of plantation in regions where temperatures can sink really low. Some of the mulch can be removed after the plant has grown a couple of inches.

Varieties

In India, there are several varieties of garden tulips that are in cultivation. Some of these are Mendal, Triumph, Rembrandt, Darwin, Breeders, Lily Flowered, Bijbloemen, Double Late, Parrots, Darwin hybrids, Duc van Tol, Single Early, and Double Early.

Propagation

The tulip plant can be propagated by their offsets and seeds. While using offsets to propagate the tulip plant remove immature bulbs that naturally form around the main bulb and dry them during the summer. Once dry enough, replant the offsets in autumn. While using seeds to propagate, sow the seeds in a tray of loam-based compost to germinate.

Pruning

Tulips do not need to be pruned often. However, it is advised to remove withered stems or foliage with clean tools.

Common Pests and Diseases

When buying seedlings, seeds, or bulbs for your garden,  order from reputable dealers or when possible, select the bulbs that are blemish free. Tulip plants should be planted in containers that provide good drainage otherwise water pooling can cause the roots to rot which increases the risk of fungal growth and insect infestation.

While tulips tend to be less susceptible to pests when grown in well-aerated areas and in undercrowded areas, aphids, bulb mites, slugs and snails, and spider mites can infest tulips. To control pest infestations, monitor the plants for signs of infestations. In case of infestations, insecticidal soaps, neem oil, and rubbing alcohol can be used to remove the pests from the plant. It is also advised to remove the leaves and stems that are infested by the pests.

Tulips are prone to a number of diseases many of which are caused because of overwatering, poor drainage, and lack of air circulation. Diseases such as basal rot, botrytis blight, and tulip breaking virus can affect the growth of leaves and flowers, causing deformities to the plants, weakening the plant, and  rotting the flower.

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