The Q&A Archives: Tulips

Question: I noticed that my tulip population seems to be getting smaller each year, and I've only had them for 3 years! Do they need to be replaced every few years? I had tulips at my old house that came back every year for 10+ years, and can't figure this out...

Answer: The answer to your question depends on the type of tulips you are growing and on the type of display you prefer. Larger sized bulbs produce larger blooms, so some gardeners prefer to replant every year with top size bulbs. If you leave the bulbs in place, eventually the bulbs will divide and produce smaller sized bulbs which may or may not bloom well for you. Some varieties of tulip simply fade away in the garden, but others will persist. These can be lifted and grown in a nursery bed until they are large enough to bloom well. Some types of tulips however perennialize better than others. The small, species tulips, for instance, tend to naturalize well and can be left in place for years.

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