The tulip poplar tree is a member of the magnolia family that is quick growing and produces flowers that resemble and smell like tulip blooms. The tulip poplar tree is primarily propagated through cuttings, but seeds can be used under proper conditions. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, tulip poplars are suited for USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9A. The University of Kentucky reports winter tolerance as far north as Zone 4. Flowers appear in May and June, and the tree provides uniform yellow colored leaves in the fall.
Refrigerate or freeze tulip poplar seeds for 60 to 90 days. Tulip poplars need a specific number of chilling hours to satisfy their physiological dormancy period. This process is referred to as stratification. Start this process in the fall, so that you can have established seedlings to plant the following spring after any danger has passed for frost in your area.
Plant the stratified seeds in flats or growing containers filled with moistened, mineral-rich potting soil. Space the seeds several inches apart in larger pots or flats or plant individually in small peat pots.
Cover the seeds with approximately 1/4 inch of soil.
Place the growing containers in an area where they will receive full sun. Tulip poplar seedlings are intolerant of shade.
Keep the soil around the seeds moist to the touch at all times. This may require watering several times a week.
Repot the seedlings to larger pots when the plants reach 2 to 3 inches tall. Allow the seedlings grow to several inches high and develop the second set of leaves before transplanting into a prepared garden space.