To Dig or Not to Dig…Tulips, that is!

May 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm Leave a comment

With the falling of the flower petals and the foliage waning many gardeners wonder whether or not to dig their tulip bulbs from the garden.  At Maymont we treat tulips like annual flowering plants and remove them from the gardens.  We keep all other bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, camassia, puschkinia, anemones, scilla, alliums and hyacinths, to name a few, in the garden from year to year but, dig up the tulips.  Why?  Tulips originate in a part of the world where the summers are hot and very dry coupled with cold winters, the Himalayan Mountains and the steppes of Eastern Turkey. Central Virginia does not match that weather set.  Due to the warm summers, with high humidity and clay soils to boot, plus not so cold winters (sans this past one) many tulip bulbs decline rather than thrive. Within a year or two the flowers are smaller and on shorter stems or not present at all.  However, there are some anamolies who do thrive in the conditions of Central Virginia such as the botanical or species tulips and their cultivars.  In addition, Emporer Tulips, some Darwin Hybrid Tulips and some Triumph Tulips perennialize as well.  If you wish to focus your efforts on these perennializing tulips then do a bit of research by reading up on the different cultivars before visiting your favorite garden center.  As for Maymont, we will continue to renew the gardens annually creating new color combinations for all our guests to enjoy!  Happy Digging!

Peggy Singlemann

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