The Q&A Archives: Reasons Why Tulips Don't Bloom

Question: Over the years I have planted tulip bulbs and some springs all that comes up are the green leaves. Why don't I get a tulip from the leaves? Do the bulbs have to be dug up in the fall, or do the bulbs just get old and don't produce flowers any more? Ilive in Norheast PA Mary Ellen Piasta Wyoming, PA

Answer: A.There are two possible reasons why your tulips don't bloom. The first is that the bulb has used all its energy to bloom the first year. The second year it uses its energy to make new bulbs. So you are correct in your assumption that they will no longer bloom. On the other hand, if the newly planted bulb does not bloom, it has been planted too deep and is using all its energy to get to the surface of the soil. In some places, tulips are planted as an annual, dug up after blooming and discarded. If you don't care to do this you can dig them up after they've finished and plant them in an out of the way place. The following year dig up and separate the smaller bulbs to allow them to grow to blooming size. It's a lot of work and requires some space in your garden but if you are determined to keep the bulbs, that's what you have to do. There are bulbs that are treated as perennials.. species tulips, hyacinths, squill, muscari, daffoldils, etc.

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