Garden

Hyacinths and tulips


Question: why are my bulbs in very bad condition?


Good morning, at the end of 2010 I planted the bulbs of tulips and hyacinths that then bloomed in the spring. I didn't remove them from the ground and they grew very thin this year, often they can't stand up straight and struggle to make the flower. In those few that bloom, the flowers are shriveled, they bend over themselves and, as regards the hyacinths, they last 2-3 days, then they dry out. Why?

Hyacinths and tulips: Answer: cultivate the bulbs


Dear Davide,
tulips and hyacinths are bulbous plants, of Middle Eastern origin, very common in Italian gardens, suitable also for wilderness: they can easily be left in the ground, because they bloom again from year to year.
Flowering is an event that causes a great deal of energy on the part of plants; the bulbs have a particular behavior, because in order to prepare for the following year's flowering, they store starches and other nutrients inside the reserve organs, the bulbs precisely; in this way it is possible to produce incredible, large and fragrant flowers, despite having very few days to prepare these incredible blooms.
Clear that, in order to have a spectacular flowering next year, it is essential that I cultivate the bulbs in the best way this year, because they are replenishing nutrients now, and they will keep them aside for next year.
Sometimes it happens that the bulbs, from year to year, tend to become more and more miserable and thin, with ever more insignificant blooms, which sometimes even cease. This fact is due to incorrect cultivation practices, already starting from the previous year.
To get flowers from our bulbs from year to year it is essential to guarantee the right space for the plants; also considering that many bulbous plants, at the end of the season, tend to produce cloves, which over the months will tend to steal space from the mother plants; so if, for example, we place the bulbs in pots, necessarily in autumn we will have to dig them up and thin them, or in the span of just two years the pots will be so full that they won't allow the bulbs to bloom.
Another mistake that is often made consists in pruning the leaves of bulbous plants when they are still in full vegetation: the plants produce nutrients through chlorophyll photosynthesis, which occurs in the green parts of the plants, and which continues even when the bulbous plants are no longer in bloom. So for flowering bulbs, from year to year, it is important to allow them to have a good amount of free space; in addition to this it is important to cultivate the leaves until they are lush and green, watering if necessary, and fertilizing every 15 days (or spreading around the bulbs, as soon as they sprout, a slow-release granular fertilizer); the leaves will be removed only when they naturally begin to dry.
Another reason that can cause bulbs to deteriorate from year to year is humidity: excessive watering and often very wet soil quickly brings the bulbs to rot, but also often only to a stunted and not very decorative development.