A visitor to our website recently contacted us and and asked a question of what to do about sprouting tulip bulbs. The visitor had purchased a large quantity of tulip bulbs to pot and give to business clients as a blooming plant. She kept the bulbs in a cool room in her house. When the weather warmed up, so did the room.
The problem was that all of her tulip bulbs began to sprout. She did make one pot and kept it exposed to sunlight indoors. That tulip grew and bloomed into a plant. She wanted to make sure that if she planted the bulbs, she would get blooming plants, since buying pots and potting the bulbs would add more expense.
Here is the advice I gave her:
Thank you for contacting us with your question about sprouting tulip bulbs. You want to give blooming tulip plants to your business clients, but want the assurance they will bloom if you go through the expense of potting them.
First off, you have an excellent idea of giving tulips to your business clients. Tulips only bloom in the spring, so giving a gift of tulip offers a freshness and reminder of spring that your clients will appreciate.
Welcome to the world of uncertainty! There is no guarantee that the bulbs will grow into blooming plants, even when they are planted outdoors. There are a variety of factors that affect growth, including the amount of sunlight, growing temperature, moisture, etc.
However, you discovered a secret about the bulbs you did pot. Most tulip varieties do well in a full sun or partial shade exposure. It depends on the variety.
Most tulip growers preserve their bulbs in a freezer during the non-growing season. Since you’ve kept these in a room in your house and the bulbs are beginning to sprout, you can’t reverse that growth process. So, on the practical side, if you do nothing with the bulbs, they will sprout, expend themselves and your investment in the bulbs will wither (literally.) You may as well throw them away.
However, depending on how many bulbs you have, you could pot them with two or three bulbs in one pot. Use a cheap plastic pot and when the tulips form buds, cover the outside of the pot with decorative fabric or wrapping paper. That will minimize your investment in attractive looking pots and you’ll have business clients who admire your personal taste.
Now, you’ll need to make sure that you get enough UV light on the bulbs, so if you do not have a large sun room, buy one or two of those UV growing lights that you can shine on the potted bulbs. That will help the growth process.
If you have this problem with tulip bulbs, try these suggestions and see how they can help you make the most of your tulip investment.
Photo. Susanne Jutzeler