The Q&A Archives: How to get tulips to flower?

Question: Oct. 2008 I planted 100 tulip bulbs and all flowered ! The leaves turned yellow and I cut them back. This year, all the leaves grew but I had a total of 10 flowers. Is there any way to get more flowers since the bulbs are only 1 1/2 years old???? Thanks!

Answer: Tulips, unfortunately, are rarely reliable perennials. They generally put on a wonderful show the first year, then decline in size and number of flowers with each successive year. Some varieties will perform better in certain locations but, generally, unlike daffodils and crocuses, they can't be counted on to flourish year to year. If you really want a reliable spectacular tulip show each year, you'll need to plant fresh bulbs each year. Daffodils, on the other hand, should bloom reliably year after year. You might want to dig up a few of your tulips. They may have rotted if the ground remained soggy, or they may have become a feast for underground critters. Wish I had better news!

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