Tulips are flowers that make spring and summer beautiful with their breathtaking colors and overriding elegance. Ordinarily, they are perennials and are expected to produce flowers every year. Sometimes, gardeners face a condition where their tulips are not blooming.
That could get plant owners confused and wondering why their tulips are coming up blind, especially when they bloomed perfectly in the previous year.
Most gardeners need the flower buds to bloom yearly. They find the plants useless when the tulips stop blooming. Hence, it is crucial to understand why your tulips are coming up blind to identify the problem and know how to deal with the situation.
Why Are Tulips Coming Up Blind?
1. The Environment Does Not Encourage Them To Bloom
Your tulips coming up blind could be as a result of planting them in an unfavorable environment. Why do we say so? Whether or not tulips will bloom largely depends on the environment. Tulips are naturally found in regions with dry weather.
They thrive better in cold winter and hot summer.
The cold temperature prevents fungal infections that affect the bulb. If the bulbs are infected with fungal diseases, the tulips will come up blind. Also, the weather in summer helps to keep them dry.
Therefore, bulbs that are not planted in this kind of environment will most likely sprout without flowers.
2. They Were Planted In Soil That Has Poor Nutrients
Just like any other bulb, tulip bulbs need to be planted in healthy soil to bloom. They require some amount of phosphorus to form flower buds. Therefore, if the soil lacks adequate phosphorus, the tulips will come up blind.
3. They Are A Hybrid That Doesn’t Bloom For Long
Although tulips are perennials, they are mostly treated as plants that bloom annually. Why? Newer tulip hybrids don’t produce flowers for a long time like the original species. Most new hybrids bloom only for three years before they start to come up blind.
However, Darwin hybrids bloom longer than many other species. They can produce flowers for an average of five years after they are planted. Fosteriana hybrids are also one of the species that flower for many years.
Waterlogging the soil could be a reason the tulips are coming up blind. As earlier mentioned, tulip bulbs thrive in a dry environment. Even in summer, they must not be watered too often. Keeping the soil consistently moist weakens the bulbs. Usually, weak bulbs may develop leaves but eventually will not bloom.
5. Planting Too Close To The Soil Surface
Planting the bulbs close to the soil surface encourages them to reproduce. When this happens, the bulb grows bulbils near its base. The reproduction makes the bulbils use up most of the nutrients that are supposed to be directed to the flowering buds.
When this happens, the bulb will not flower the next year, and the bulbils cannot bloom until two years after. Hence, for the next three years, the tulips will come up blind.
6. Pests Are Eating The Flowers
This is the least reason the plant is not blooming. There may be nothing wrong with the plant, but sometimes pests have a role to play when tulip bulbs don’t bloom. Common pests that love to eat tulip bulbs are mice and squirrels.
These pests dig out the bulbs when they want to feed. Of course, if the bulbs have been uprooted by squirrels, they will not produce flowers.
What To Do To Make Your Tulips Bloom
1. Plant In A Well-drained Soil
Always plant the bulbs in well-drained soil because these liliaceous plants like their soil to dry out before the next watering. That will strengthen them and provide sufficient nutrients to the flower buds, so they produce blossoming flowers.
2. Plant In An Area That Exposes Them To Sunlight
To get your tulip bulbs to bloom yearly, plant them in an area that exposes them to direct sunlight. To revive the tulips coming up blind, expose them to at least six hours of direct sunlight daily.
Likewise, if they are planted in a flowering pot, place the pots in a spot that allows the foliage to receive direct sunlight for up to six hours. The more sunlight the plant gets, the greater the chance it gets to bloom.
3. Plant New Bulbs
Weak bulbs cannot reproduce flowers. Your tulips coming up blind most times mean you need to remove them and plant new bulbs. Uproot tulip bulbs that are no longer blooming and destroy them.
However, allow the foliage to die naturally before uprooting. Also, plant new bulbs of old species like Darwin hybrids to get flowers yearly.
4. Apply A Phosphorus-based Fertilizer
If the problem is with the soil, add a fertilizer rich in phosphorus to the soil. This gives the tulips coming up blind a greater advantage to bloom.
5. Plant Each Tulip Bulb Deeply In The Soil
Planting the bulb deeply into the soil allows the plant to have firm roots. That makes it easy to transfer nutrients to the flowering buds. Plant each bulb at least eight inches into the soil to give them a chance to blossom.
6. Keep Away From Pests
Make sure to protect the bulbs from mice and squirrels. You can lay wire mesh directly on the planted area to prevent squirrels and mice from digging up your bulbs.
Just like most gardeners, the best thing to do is to treat these liliaceous plants as annual rather than perennials. After they have bloomed for a couple of years, the tulips coming up blind is a cue to plant new bulbs.
Furthermore, plant healthy bulbs of the purebred species only because whether your tulips will come up blind largely depends on the type of bulb planted.
Remember to allow the bulbs to die naturally before removing them. While it may seem the soil is dry in summer, resist from overwatering. Once you adhere to the tips and instructions given in this article, you will have better control over how your tulip plants bloom.