Bulbs forum: Species tulips and seed heads?

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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
May 2, 2012 6:35 AM CST
I finally have some species tulips, and I love them!

My question is:

Should I remove the seed heads for continued plant vigor, or is it okay to leave them so they might naturalize?



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Name: Brian
Ontario Canada (Zone 5b)
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bearsearch
May 2, 2012 3:55 PM CST
I have not found my species tulips to lose vigour through self seeding. I don't let them seed every year though, more to prevent overcrowding than anything thing else.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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chelle
May 2, 2012 5:15 PM CST
Thanks, Brian. Thumbs up

I snipped a few, but left the rest. Now that I know that it won't hurt them, I'll leave them be. Big Grin
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Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
May 2, 2012 8:36 PM CST
What will happen if you leave them? Baby tuliplets? Same or different than the parent?
Name: Brian
Ontario Canada (Zone 5b)
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bearsearch
May 3, 2012 5:05 AM CST
The species tulips I have have all come true in spite of the fact I have many other tulips in my garden. Example my Tulipa tarda started with 5 bulbs and I have at least 40 -50 blooming sized bulbs now. The flowers are all yellow and white even though I have another species (magenta, can't remember the name at the moment) no more than 15 feet away, neither one has shown any changes in colour amongst the offspring. It does take a couple years though for the seedlings to get to blooming size. It also depends on looks, if your tulips are in a garden where you don't want tulip foliage well into the summer than I wouldn't leave them as they can look rather ratty come July. The tulip species also propagate from offsets for example
Thumb of 2012-05-03/bearsearch/632ed2 Thumb of 2012-05-03/bearsearch/038ccb Thumb of 2012-05-03/bearsearch/426cbb

In each one of these pictures the clumps of tulips all started from one original bulb. Please excuse the dandelions in the first photo, they are in my cactus bed and are VERY hard to weed.
[Last edited by bearsearch - May 3, 2012 5:24 AM (+)]
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
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Newyorkrita
May 3, 2012 10:10 AM CST
Brian, those are absolutely lovely. Thanks for posting the pictures and also for answering my question. I really don't want to be raising tulip seedlings even if they are true to the parent so I guess I will just snap off seed pods on all my tulips just as I normally do. It is nice to see that they increase from the bulb though!
Name: Brian
Ontario Canada (Zone 5b)
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bearsearch
May 3, 2012 1:29 PM CST
Thank you Rita! The only ones I let seed are the tarda as they have the space, all the others multiply fairly quickly from offsets and are where I don't want to see tulip foliage all summer. I think that's a good choice as the seedlings are very easy to pull out and very difficult to weed between.
(Zone 6a)
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TomNJ
May 27, 2012 9:27 AM CST
A couple of my tulips have seed pods on them. I want them to re-seed. The tulips are looking pretty bad - all brown and dying back. My question is, if I cut the seed pods off and toss them in the garden, will they sprout next year? Or, should I leave them on the plant? They appear to be pretty dried out.
Name: Brian
Ontario Canada (Zone 5b)
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bearsearch
May 28, 2012 8:47 PM CST
I find that by the time the seeds are mature and ready to disperse the whole stem is dry and brown and the seed capsule will split on its own. Then the stem just pulls out really easily and no surprises with bulbs still attached. The seeds will sit dormant till the following spring before germinating. It takes about 3 to 4 years for the bulbs to reach flowering size.
(Zone 6a)
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TomNJ
May 28, 2012 9:53 PM CST
bearsearch said:I find that by the time the seeds are mature and ready to disperse the whole stem is dry and brown and the seed capsule will split on its own. Then the stem just pulls out really easily and no surprises with bulbs still attached. The seeds will sit dormant till the following spring before germinating. It takes about 3 to 4 years for the bulbs to reach flowering size.


Thank you.

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