Monday, March 26, 2012
if you want to grow tulips in the desert...
Forgive my obsession with spring flowers right now but spring never lasts long enough around here so I am enjoying it while I can. I am out in the garden with my camera every morning.
When we started to get interested in gardening (giving up on productive gardening because the critters around here ate every vegetable and fruit we tried), I really wanted to try tulips. I knew that growing tulips in the desert wasn't anything like growing them in other climates, but I wanted to try. We knew that tulips wouldn't come back every year in our climate so it was a one and done situation. We looked at bulbs and couldn't believe the prices. It was a little scary not even knowing if they would bloom. I decided they were too much but on my birthday, there was a lovely box of tulip bulbs. He does know the way to my heart. We planted them in our little garden and most of them came up. Our garden isn't really visible from the house so we were trying to come up with another method. My brilliant husband figured it out and it worked perfectly.
Instructions for growing tulips in the desert (at least in southern Arizona).
1. Chill bulbs for 6 weeks. If it ends up not being quite that long, don't worry. We usually plant Thanksgiving week because I desperately need the room in the frig for Thanksgiving food. So we buy in October.
2. Plant bulbs in shallow pots. Be sure you have the bulbs facing the right way. I still remember doing it wrong as a child.
3. Water regularly. We just keep them in our other garden, tucked out of the way. It gets a regular spray.
4. When bulbs start blooming in February, move the pot to where you can see them every day. It will make you very happy.
Last fall we bought a bag of tulips from Costco.com. It was the perennial tulip collection for $57.99, free shipping. I don't remember the number of bulbs that included but we got enough for 8 big pots. I like planting one color in one pot but you could mix them up too. The red started blooming first and are gone by now. Then came the pink, almost finished. Right now, I still have yellow, orange, white and a beautiful yellow/orange color. We have had blooms for over a month.
I know I don't have many readers from desert locations but just in case, I had to pass this along because it has brought us so much happiness this spring, not to mention too many photo ops.