Bulbs forum: Good info on the inside of a bulb!

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Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Dec 11, 2017 10:09 PM CST

Can I have a look inside please?

When you see the bulb of a tulip in the summertime you would think she is completely dormant, just waiting to be planted in in the autumn… the truth is on the contrary.
The summer might be the busiest time of the year for the tulip because in this period she prepares herself for the spring next year.
All parts of the tulip plant are being developed meticulously inside the bulb. The moment the is tulip bulb coming out of the ground she already started to create the leaves of next year's plant. After the leaves are developed, about the end of July, the tulip starts working on the formation of the flower. Step by step the petals, anthers with pollen are shaped and lastly her pistil and ovary are being created. Every little part of the tulip plant that will be blooming next spring is being shaped to the detail. In the last month before the bulb is planted the sprout inside is stretching a little bit so she will be ready for a quick start after the winter when the temperature is rising. In October, the tulip bulb develops her roots. You can see at the bottom of the bulbs the root-circle swelling through the outer skin of the bulb. The following pictures show you what the inside of a tulip looks like in November, ready to be planted.
Thumb of 2017-12-12/crawgarden/c7b6ab

A cross-section of a tulip bulb, the green circle in the centre is the sprout of the tulip. The outer part of the circle are the leaves, in the middle of the circle the tulip flower.​

Thumb of 2017-12-12/crawgarden/151cda

A longitudinal cut of the tulip bulb. This shows you clearly how the leaves are settled on the stem and in the middle of the sprout you can see an anther of the tulip flower.​

Thumb of 2017-12-12/crawgarden/1875db

This is the sprout of a tulip when you peel off all her scales. It is nice to see the little sprout at the base on the left. This is the new tulip bulb for next year that will grow to a new bulb after the tulip has bloomed in the spring. ​

Thumb of 2017-12-12/crawgarden/e26443

The leaves of the tulips are removed, you can see the tulip flower on the top of the sprout.​

Thumb of 2017-12-12/crawgarden/4ad416

A part of the flower is removed, the little leaves you see laying down are the petals. Also, three anthers are removed. What you now see on top of the sprout are the other three anthers with the pistil in the middle. ​

Thumb of 2017-12-12/crawgarden/e6ed84

You can see the roots swelling out of the bulb. When you look closely you can see small knobs. Every little knob will grow out to a root as soon as she feel a moist soils. Roots grow before the winter arrives because they are very much needed in the spring to provide the tulip with water when she starts growing.​

Thumb of 2017-12-12/crawgarden/42befb

Not only the tulip creates her plant in the summertime, this is the inside of a daffodil in November. Here you can also see in the centre that the flower is fully developed.​
Best regards,
Carlos van der Veek


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Name: Gary
Wyoming MN (Zone 4a)
Dec 12, 2017 2:31 PM CST
Very neat article!
Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
Jan 14, 2018 9:14 AM CST
I agree Very interesting! Thumbs up
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Region: Wisconsin Birds Irises Peonies Bulbs Seed Starter
Pollen collector Plant and/or Seed Trader Hybridizer Daylilies Garden Photography Dog Lover
Feb 19, 2018 11:54 AM CST
Same principal with lily bulbs, as I'm sure most bulbs. The current year of growth stimulates the next year. So have feeding this year, will result in improved growth next year. I have always heard lily bulbs never go dormant, but that the other types of bulbs do go true dormant. My theory is that neither truly go dormant, they just don't exhibit any active growth on the exterior or that is visible to the naked eye. On the inside is a different story.
Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
Region: Australia Bookworm Cat Lover Lilies Orchids Irises
Seed Starter Annuals Container Gardener Garden Photography Forum moderator
Feb 19, 2018 4:05 PM CST

Plants Admin

@Nhra_20 - I think you'll find Liliums maintain an active root system and often grow new roots when other bulbs are "dormant". Jonquils, on the other hand, tend to have almost no viable roots (from personal experience) when dug up when dormant.
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