Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Propagating magnolias from Springtown TX
July 07, 2011 - I am trying to find out how to plant Magnolia tree seeds and what has to be done with them prior to planting, if anything and what type of soil to use.
view the full question and answer

Saving frozen yuccas from North Carolina
February 23, 2013 - I live in NC and have 2 potted yucca plants on my deck. Every year I have brought them in for the winter. This year, someone told us that we could leave them out all winter. They began to die in the c...
view the full question and answer

Century Plant
April 20, 2013 - I have a century plant that has just begun to bloom. I have a transplanted a few pups, successfully. I am wondering how I am to go about removing the mother plant once it blooms and dies. I'm reading...
view the full question and answer

Air layering with Spanish moss from Dunnellon FL
July 28, 2011 - Is it possible to air layer plant cuttings using Spanish Moss instead of Sphagum Moss? I have a yard full! Thanks
view the full question and answer

Long term storam of Lupinus arboreus seeds
July 21, 2007 - Hi - I was wondering what the best way to store lupine seeds (for long-term storage and maximum viability) is? I am a graduate student at Berkeley studying Lupinus arboreus. We have been storing seeds...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.