Tulips- seed heads

Need to know the best time to plant?

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Primrose
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Tulips- seed heads

Postby Primrose » Sat May 14, 2016 8:43 am

This weekend I will be doing as Monty advised and snipping off the seed heads of my tulips to strengthen the bulbs for next year.

But as a matter of curiosity, does anybody know whether these seeds are viable and if saved and sown, will eventually produce new tulip bulbs?. Guess I should ask a Dutchman really. They're the bulb experts. I suspect it may take a few years to produce bulbs of viable commercial size.
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Re: Tulips- seed heads

Postby Johnboy » Tue May 17, 2016 9:35 am

Hi Primrose,
Some Tulip seeds are viable and some are not and they take a minimum of five years before they will produce a flower of dubious quality. Commercially the bulbs are cut into pieces containing a fragment of the baseplate placed in and controlled environment where bulblets are produced on the fragment of baseplate and they are grown on from that stage. These bulblets can vary very appreciably in size and these are graded and the inferior ones are generally discarded unless they are part of a cross breeding programme when they may be kept.
Van JB.
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Re: Tulips- seed heads

Postby Primrose » Tue May 17, 2016 2:07 pm

That'sinteresting Johnboy Thank you. I don't think i'll bother experimenting with them then o if there,s a five year timespan. Could risk approaching my sell by date by the time anything productive had hapspened !

Som e of these plant breeding peogrammes are almost long enough to involve the next generation. I have three one foot high walnut tree sapings potted up from discarded walnuts thrown out for squirrels which had been forgotten, buried and sprouted. I read smewhere that you plant walnut trees for the next generation as they can take years before they start cropping reliably. I don't have space to plant them in our garden so must find a suitable home for them somewhere. Our local parks department might possibly be able to find a spot for them.
Last edited by Primrose on Tue May 17, 2016 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dan3008
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Re: Tulips- seed heads

Postby dan3008 » Tue May 17, 2016 9:34 pm

thats really fascinating
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Re: Tulips- seed heads

Postby PLUMPUDDING » Wed May 18, 2016 2:13 pm

That's interesting Johnboy, they must still cross for seeds to get all the different varieties though don't they? They must be very patient people.

Something I've noticed is that some seem to revert to either red or yellow in a year or two. I saved some nice purple ones and put them near the back door, and this year it is a clump of all yellow ones.
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Re: Tulips- seed heads

Postby Johnboy » Thu May 19, 2016 8:08 am

Hi PP,
My property is quite an ancient one and before I came here it was a family farm and the gardens were quite extensive. When my uncle couldn't manage the garden orders were given to a contractor to clear it. He did so with weed killer! Now every year I get different tulips appearing because of the actions of a tulip when it is attacked. When tulips are attacked they immediately send out a sinker which can be over 12" in depth and this sinker forms a bulblet which ultimately makes its way to the right depth. Now I have been here for well over 30 years and as these little fellows still keep on appearing and I transplant them into a single bed.
I went to a garden in Wales which had been the home of a Bishop of Cardiff (I believe) and the spring display was tulips that would have been as it was when tulips were highly prized in the Bishop's day. I have some of those same tulips. Comparing them with modern varieties they are not magnificent but had I never seen a tulip before I am sure I would be amazed. They have a very safe home here.
My family have had their instructions as to what must happen to them when I am no longer around.
JB.
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Re: Tulips- seed heads

Postby Primrose » Thu May 19, 2016 8:44 am

JB That's a lovely bit of history. It's easy to forget that tulips were once incredible valuable currency and owning them was the preserve of the rich. I certainly didn't know about their abilities to act in this way under attack. It's great that you!ve taken steps to preserve them. Hopefully they will end up in the care of somebody who enjoys flowers and appreciates their provenance.
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