The Q&A Archives: Why Tulips Do Not Flower

Question: Last fall I planted about 50 red & yellow tulips in the same location that for years I?ve planted tulips with great success. I made sure that the tulips were not planted upside-down or too deep (~6-inch depth was used). I also fertilized using bone meal. This Spring only about 20% of the tulips flowered. The rest produced copious leaves but no flower stems. Why didn?t the tulips flower and what remedial action, if any, should I take with this lot of tulips?

Answer: Based on your description, I would surmise that the bulbs may have been undersized, meaning too small to produce flowers this year. The healthy foliage growth would be an indication that they are doing well and will be building bulb size this season. Make sure the foliage is allowed to grow and mature and turn brown before removal so the bulbs are able to take full advantage of this year's growth. Remedial action might be to fertilize next fall when the roots begin to grow, and again in the early spring when the tulips begin to come up. You can use a bulb booster or a general purpose 10-10-10 granular type.

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