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

Varieties of Ceanothus suitable for Illinois
September 07, 2012 - Ceanothus Velutinus is the smell of western Montana, my home, to me, and I have relocated to Illinois. I miss it so much that whenever I go home I bring back a jar of ceanothis leaves and keep th...
view the full question and answer

Pollination of blackberries in Lake Winnebago, MO
May 27, 2010 - Not sure if blackberries are native, but my daughter got a start of one at a plant exchange at the nature center. Do we need more than one for it to pollinate correctly? We have strawberries growing i...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower garden with Castilleja indivisa (Indian paintbrush)
January 08, 2013 - I want to start a wildflower garden in my front/backyard. Specifically, I would like to include the indian paintbrush. What is the best way to go about this? Straight in the ground, containers, etc...
view the full question and answer

Non-native lilacs for Salt Lake City, UT
April 15, 2012 - Is the weather in Salt Lake City UT good enough to plant a lilac bush root? If not, how long should I wait?
view the full question and answer

Problems with chile pequin from Pflugerville TX
July 19, 2012 - Hello there! I have a question about my chile pequin (Capsicum annuum L.) plant. I purchased it last year from the Wildflower Center Fall Plant Sale. It stayed in a pot until three months ago when I p...
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