The Q&A Archives: Hope For Tulips Eaten By Deer?

Question: Hi. I planted lots of your tulips last fall. They began growing and looked really happy and then the deer found them and ate them...sheered them off to the ground. The stems and leaves have continued to grow; they're maybe 6" high now. My question is whether or not they'll be able to bloom next year, since there are some leaves remaining to "feed" the new bulbs. Or won't that be enough? I don't know whether to replace them, or dig and replant, or leave them alone. Any suggestions?

Answer: I'm so sorry about your tulips! For starters, the same thing will happen again next year unless you protect them from the deer, so that may be part of your calculations as well. Some varieties of tulips return better than others, so to some extent the results will depend on what kinds of tulips you are growing. To help them along, you could apply a complete granular fertilizer such as 5-10-5 or a bulb booster formula now as well as in the fall when the roots begin to grow and again in early spring just as they begin to emerge from the ground. This spring, try to keep the foliage growing as long as possible by watering if there is a dry spell and by allowing it to stay on the bulbs until it falls and withers on its own. Leaving them alone is probably easier than lifting and replanting them. If they are in a prominent position and their appearance is a dominant factor in your landscape, you might allow them to grow now and then lift for replanting elsewhere next fall -- and replace them with new ones for the prime location.

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