Care for Tulips
Just like any other bulbs, Tulip bulbs have to be treated the same way. The bulbs are susceptible to rot if in contact with moisture. If you’re not planning to plant them yet, make sure they are stored in a dry and cool place. An airtight container with a pack of Silica Gel to absorb moisture, a paper bag, or plastic bag with holes to allow air circulation is good for storing Tulip bulbs.
However, it is advisable to plant the bulbs anyway if shoots are emerging, which is more likely to happen if the bulbs are exposed to some moisture and light, or that you’ve been keeping them for too long. (Read here for unplanted Tulip bulbs)
Planting the bulbs
Use a large container or flower pot. This will allow you to move the plants whenever necessary. A pot of well-draining fertile soil is perfect for Tulips. When thinking of Malaysia, think also of the humidity level. You might want to add some sand in the soil to prevent water from staying for too long. Some perlite could be helpful too.
!Important! Tulips hate routine watering. They prefer dry conditions.
Common instructions for Tulips
Plant the bulbs in the depth of three times the size of a bulb. It’s not necessary, however, considering that you are growing the bulbs in a container. In this case, just provide an adequate space for roots to grow. Follow the tips from the image below for container growing Tulips.
It is recommended to remove the basal skin to expose the bottom of the bulb to the moisture from the soil, thus promoting root growth.
!Important! Tulips need a lot of light. Make sure you have a bright location for them.
If you’re worried that you might not be able to check the condition of the bulbs after you planted them, try planting on the surface, covering only the rooted ends, while exposing the pointy tops (just like the picture below). Water immediately after planting as this will trigger root growth.
Image credit: tulipspecialist.com
However, exposing your bulbs to the light may cause mold growth (read under Pests and Diseases). Be extra careful if you’d like to plant your Tulip bulbs this way. Try more resistant bulbs from Lily-flowered or Parrot varieties.
Tip: Planting Tulip bulbs on the soil surface is recommended for container growing (read Forcing Narcissus Bulbs [coming soon]), this will provide more room for roots to grow.
Maintaining your Tulips
Since the bulbs are filled with nutrients, feeding is not necessary. If required, slow-release fertilizer is the best for Tulips. If the soil is added with compost or any other organic material, this will invite pests and fungi growth too, and it’s bad for the bulbs.
Tulips ‘Carnaval de Nice’
Find a shaded area in your garden. Tulips love morning sun, and afternoon sun can be too strong for them. Allow the soil to be dry between watering. Tulips hate heavy rainfall and really wet soil, therefore make sure to choose a location that is sheltered. Water from the bottom, by letting the soil absorb water from the saucer.
Tip: I never watered my Tulips in Malaysia when the leaves started growing. I let the humidity do the job.
Pests and Diseases
Gray and Blue Mold (mold is different than scar, check the image below)
After growing several kinds of Tulips, you will learn which ones are more resistant to certain pests and diseases, and avoid planting the ones that require too much attention.
*Side note: If you notice the ‘florally yours’ watermark on the pictures, that was what Fyoria once called!