Tulips are among the most recognizable of all flowers and they are also very easy to grow. They grow from bulbs and do not have to be bought and replaced every year. Given the right conditions, they flower for many years. If the bulbs are planted correctly they not only bloom year after year but even increase to create large colonies. The best time to remove tulip bulbs is from the end of June to mid July.
Best Time to Pull Bulbs
The best way to remove bulbs is the way it is done in the Netherlands. Fields of tulips are allowed to flower until the growers can confirm their types and also that the plants are not infected with any tulip virus. The flowers are then removed from the plants and the bulbs are allowed to grow underground until the top leaves wither and turn yellow. The bulbs are then removed. After the soil is well shaken off the roots, the bulbs are dried in a cool and airy place. Though different species of the flower tend to ripen at different times, the ideal time is when the upper plant has shriveled. However the bulbs should be harvested before the upper plant easily detaches from the bulb, otherwise this makes it very difficult to trace the bulbs.
Why TIming is Important
After the plants have stopped flowering, the remaining foliage starts to use sunlight to feed and nourish the still developing bulbs underground that will create the next flowers. This is why it is important to make sure that the foliage turns yellow naturally before the bulbs are harvested otherwise the new bulbs will be very small and will fail to produce good flowers.
Importance of Temperature
The harvested tulip bulbs need to be cooled at a certain temperature for a certain length of time if they are to flower properly. The bulbs need to be kept below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 15 weeks for optimal development. If bulbs are not pre-cooled or if the soil temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit or above during winter, the resulting flowers will not be as good. In warmer climates the bulbs should be refrigerated for 15 weeks before planting. Root formation as well the development of future bulbs are affected if the right temperatures are not maintained before the bulbs are replanted.