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What else can you say about tulips? It seems that these flowers are so well known and loved that not only professionals but also amateurs take on their cultivation. It is commonly believed that these flowers reproduce by bulbs. However, tulips are propagated by seed. Let's try to figure out how a tulip bulb is formed, why you have to resort to seed propagation and how to grow a tulip from seeds and wait for them to bloom.
- Tulips, some botanical characteristics
- Seed propagation of tulips in nature
- Propagation of tulips by seeds in the garden
Tulips, some botanical characteristics
Tulips are flowering herbaceous bulbous plants from the Tulip genus, Liliaceae family. For many millions of years, tulips have perfectly adapted to life in almost any conditions. They are not afraid of either a dry climate, or cold winters, or mountainous or desert air. With the help of a man, they advanced to Holland, where at one time they became popular and were valued as dearly as gold. Over the long years of evolution, the tulip has adapted in a very short period of favorable spring weather not only to germinate, give leaves and flowers, but also to form young bulbs. The old bulb dies off after flowering. During the summer, shoots and flowers of the next year are formed underground in young bulbs. By the end of autumn, young bulbs form the root system. In some varieties, this process continues in winter.
Tulip bulb consists of:
- from the bottom, which is a modification of the stem in the form of a disc
- from one to six storage scales, specialized leaves
- protective integumentary scales
- dead remnants of the mother bulb, stems, they play a protective function
Bulbs of wild tulip species live for almost two years, and cultivated ones for exactly two years. The first year is just a bud inside the mother's bulb. The next year, this is a full-fledged bulb. If it is centered and larger than the others, it is a replacement bulb. In the axils of the scales, daughter bulbs are located, sometimes they are comparable in size with the central one, among the protective scales there may be small bulbs - children.
Sometimes in varietal tulips, only one central and one or two daughter ones are formed to replace the mother bulb. Therefore, reproduction is rather slow. Thus, although the main type of amateur tulip propagation is bulbs, lovers of these beautiful flowering bulbous plants can try to propagate them by seed method. After all, almost all tulips develop seeds after flowering.
Seed propagation of tulips in nature
The variety of commercial tulip varieties alone in Holland alone reaches almost two thousand. From white to almost black, from simple to double, from monochromatic to striped, on low and high stems - all this variety is difficult to even imagine. However, almost all varieties form a fruit - a box. Depending on the type and variety, it can be either elongated or more rounded. In some varieties, the size of the fruit - the capsule can exceed 10 cm.
Inside, the box is divided into three separate compartments, and in them a stack of seed plates are laid. Usually they are triangular or ovoid, rather large. In nature, seeds fall out of a dry capsule when they crack, are carried by the wind and lie until next spring. Sometimes they do not germinate in the first year, but germinate only in the second year.
Propagation of tulips by seeds in the garden
For sowing seeds on the site, the boxes with them are cut in the first decade of August and allowed to ripen in a warm and dry room. By the beginning of October, on the site chosen for sowing tulip seeds, you need to dig up the soil. It is better if it is a light loam, add humus for digging. It is advisable to sheathe the sides of the bed with boards to make a kind of box. Pour sand on top, leveling it with a layer of 2 - 3 cm. A week later, in about mid-October, the seeds are sown quite thickly on the garden bed. From above they are covered with a layer of soil and sand. Leave in this form until spring.
In early spring, after the snow melts, a loop of a green seedling appears above the surface along with the remnants of the seed. In the first summer, a tulip that has grown from a seed looks like a lonely, narrow leaf, rolled up in a thin tube with one root. By mid-June, the leaf dries up, giving life to a small onion-scale, no more than two to three mm in size.
The next spring, the seedling sprouts with flat leaves and two roots, a small onion, dying off, gives a replacement bulb with a diameter equal to one cm.
Until this moment, the bulbs are not dug up, and for the winter the garden bed is covered with a layer of humus of 5-6 cm.In the third year, the seedling looks like a larger flat leaf, and the bulb will give not only a sufficiently large, up to 2-2.5 cm, replacement bulb, but and a couple of bulbs - babies. As a rule, they are dug up in the middle of summer and stored until autumn. The storage room must be dry. In October, both the replacement bulb and the children are embedded in the ground by 12-15 cm. Before planting, the grooves are filled with sand, watered with salted water and the bulbs are laid out at a distance of 3-4 cm. The garden bed is mulched with humus or rotted manure.
The next year, everything repeats itself. The first flowering of replacement bulbs and daughter bulbs obtained from seeds can be seen only in the fifth or sixth year, and small bulbs - babies should get stronger during one more season. The process of obtaining flowering tulip bulbs from seeds takes at least five years. However, the bulbs of many varietal tulips are difficult to find and they cost a lot. Therefore, lovers of these beautiful flowering bulbous plants can try seed propagation of tulips.
Rapid cultivation video for tulips: