after the storm

after the storm
After the storm, this little one started to drink the rain gathered in the ribs of the fallen saguaro.

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.

Happy Spring!

19 comments:

Deb said...

Perfect! Thanks for sharing...

once in a blue moon said...

lovely photos~

i think your weather is close to mine, i learned you really don't need to chill them, saves on fridge space and they still bloom... once... after that its pretty sad :(

i can tell you the only bulb that thrives is daffs, when you want your money to last~

Warren said...

Great pics! Impressive tulips

Anonymous said...

These are as beautiful as any of the tulips that are just coming into bloom in the midwest! None of the tulips around here last a month because the wind tears them to pieces after about 5-7 days. : (

GailO said...

When there is a will there is a way! These are gorgeous Barbara!

Deanna said...

You have such a lovely garden ofcourse the tulips would bloom there. They are surrounded by love.

Nancy said...

So beautiful....

Barbara said...

Me me me I am in the desert, Anthem Az. Thanks for the instructions saw this on Focusing and have always loved your blog.

terriporter said...

So absolutely beautiful! I haven't tried growing bulbs in pots but you can believe I'm going to, with your wonderful instructions. Will save me a lot of money -- I won't be buying them weekly from Trader Joe's!

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Wow... what a glorious selection! and like you i LOVE LOVE LOVE tulips.

Thanks so much for participating with us today at FOL. You are always such a bright spot.

Love all the tips on how to grow them too.

Deanna told me how wonerful you are in person and some day I hope to lock eyes with your brilliance too.

Hugs
Claudia

Cathy H. said...

Oh these are gorgeous! Such a wonderful variety of spring colors! Once again, you've made me breathless!!

nancyjean said...

oh,,your tulips photos are beautiful! how wonderful to wake up to see these out your window!

Denise said...

Me me me I am in the desert, Anthem Az. Thanks for the instructions saw this on Focusing and have always loved your blog.

Jessica Culbert said...

I just bought tulips already barely growing in the pot and I live in Nevada. I really want to keep them alive lol. I'm wondering how much I'm supposed to be watering them.. I don't want to over water or under water.

Jessica Culbert said...

I just bought tulips already barely growing in the pot and I live in Nevada. I really want to keep them alive lol. I'm wondering how much I'm supposed to be watering them.. I don't want to over water or under water.

Carlos Felix said...

Thankyou for tharing! I absolutely love Tulips and now I know that It is possible to grow tulips in a desert area Im located in México near the Arizona desert

Anonymous said...

We live in the high desert of Southern California. We were given a pot of blooming tulips and they have died back now. I really appreciate your instructions regarding the timing for chilling and planting bulbs in our dry climate with wide temperature swings. I plan to dig the bulbs up, separate them and keep them in the wine fridge (54 F) over the summer. Come October I'll move them to the fridge (38 F) until Thanksgiving. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I winter forced tulips back in northern Indiana years ago and had indoor tulips in February. Thanks to you I'm going to try it here in Sun Lakes this winter. Just not sure how many I should put in each pot but I'll figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, that was very helpful!