En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - May 18, 2008

From: Cedar Rapids, IA
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Will potted tulip rebloom next year
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We bought tulips that were in bloom in small pots in May, and planted them in the back yard. Now my friend tells me they will not come up and bloom next spring, that you must only plant tulips as bulbs.

ANSWER:

Buying flowering plants is often nicer for gifts or a get-well gesture than cut flowers, because the blooms last longer. Alas, once the bloom fades, the plant probably will, too. Most potted flowering plants are "forced" in large commercial greenhouses, perhaps in order to be sold for special days like Mother's Day or Valentine's. All of the plant's energy has been put into producing the flower, and nothing is left over for reproduction. There is usually very little, if any, root in the pot. In your case, with tulips, there is probably a bulb there, but whether it will reproduce next year is problematic. Many gardeners treat tulips as annuals anyway, putting in fresh bulbs every Fall for Spring bloom.

Since the tulip is a native of the Middle East (not Holland, as many think), it is a little out of our field. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the care, protection and propagation of plants native to North America. However, we found this Yardener website on "Caring for Tulips" that will give you information on propagation. Just for an experiment, you could always follow their instructions to dig up the bulb after the leaves turn brown, separate any bulblets from the main bulb, let them rest until Fall, and then, with fertilizer, replant them. The smaller bulbs will probably not bloom for two to three years, but if there is a healthy large bulb, they might very well bloom again next year.

 

More Propagation Questions

Can trees survive if trunks are buried under 3-5 ft of soil?
January 27, 2012 - We have two cedar elms and a mesquite that I protected from backfill as our Texas Hill Country lot was leveled in preparation for building a house. The bulkheads are now holding back 3' to 5' of ma...
view the full question and answer

Pollination of dwarf wax myrtles in Lucas TX
January 02, 2010 - I recently planted 3 dwarf wax myrtles then realized all were females. Do you know if the full-sized version can be used to pollinate the dwarfs? Any idea how close the pollinator needs to be?
view the full question and answer

Male and female possumhaws for berries from Georgetown TX
April 23, 2012 - Do I need to plant two ilex decidua (possumhaws), a male and female to have red berries on the tree in the winter?
view the full question and answer

When are seeds of Indian paintbrush mature from Bend OR
July 14, 2010 - How do I know when to collect seeds of Indian paintbrush - when are they mature?
view the full question and answer

Planting time for late October bloom of Cowpen Daisy from Marble Falls, TX
September 18, 2010 - How fast does Cowpen Daisy grow from seed to flower? Do we still have time to plant seed and get flowers by the end of October in order to attract late migrating Monarch Butterflies through the Austi...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center