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Tulip Propagation
I recently mentioned to someone, I had produced a large tulip seed pod.

Her: “You mean bulb!”

Me: “No, I mean seed pod.”

Her: “No honey, tulips grow from bulbs.”

Me: “And they also can grow bulbs from seeds.”

The conversation went around a little as she still seems to think she’s right. She encouraged me to do a little reading. Unfortunately for her, I already had. In fact, I’ve tried to allow some of my tulips to seed over for 4 years now. I know the plant uses all its energy to generate the seed pod and the bulb is spent for the next year or two, until it regenerates its own energy again.

Tulip Seed Pod

Tulip Seed Pod

Propagation #1
Tulip bulbs (like most bulbous plants) naturally split from year to year, creating smaller bulbs which will take a few years to produce blooms. These new bulbs will produce blooms the same color as the parent tulip.

Propagation #2
By not trimming the dead tulips bloom, the seed pod will begin to form, if it was properly pollinated. The foliage needs to be completely brown, before the seeds are ready. When the seed pod is ready, it’ll brown and begin to crack open. This is the time to collect the seeds from the tulips. Once the seeds are sown, you’ll have to wait to see what they will look like.

There are many reasons the second method had not yet worked for me. I’ve cut all my pollinated tulip blooms for centerpieces. Animals each the flowers. Thunderstorms snap the stem of the flower before the seed pod is ready, it all depends on what other tulips were used to pollinate this.

Growing little bulbs from the seeds can be less or more work depending on what method you plan to use and what outcome you want.
Method #1
Sow seeds in loose soil, several inches down. Cover and allow mother nature to do the rest. Weed if necessary. You may lose some to ants, grubs and other garden pests.

Method #2
Put seeds in a plastic bag with a little peat moss. Keep seeds in the crisper drawer for just over three months. Plant each seed in a soil tray and water. Keep the soil moist, not dry and you’ll begin to see growth. After two leaves have grown, plants may start to brown and die back. Continue to water until all foliage is brown and dried up. At this point you should have tiny bulbs. You may lose some due to lack of watering or over-watering, so carefully monitor your soil. You can transplant them into separate pots and maintain them until your fall planting season.

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