Answers From the Tulip Expert
Special thanks to Dr. Mary Meyer, for providing her time and expertise in responding
to your questions.
Winslow Elementary, NY
Q. When we dug up a tulip bulb in February it had a long yellow-green sprout. When the tulips emerge in the spring the emerging bud is red. Why does the color of this shoot change?
A. The color changes as the plant matures and gets older, and as it gets more light. Exposure to light is the big factor.
St. Francis Intermediate, MN
Q. Our tulips started blooming in our raised garden bed 4/9/99 and we are wondering how come they are so short this year? The stem is maybe 1 - 2 in. tall which makes the bloom very close to the ground in the middle of the leaves.
A. Good question !! Here are some ideas: Is the variety the same as last year ? Some tulips are very short, Red Emperor is early and short. The raised bed may have helped to heat the soil up faster than if they were planted in the ground and given the tulips a head start. If conditions were not ideal from the time the bulbs were planted until flowering, many environmental factors can influence the development of flowers, too cold, too warm, etc.
Q. Our tulips are blooming a lot today 4/12/99. Is this early for the Minneapolis area? Our teacher says her tulips are still coming up in her garden and they are Red Emperors too.
A. So, you do have Red Emperor ! They are a short tulip, but one that is early and lasts well from year to year. My Red Emperor on the North side of my house are just at peak of bloom this week (April 29). If your tulips are in full sun and on the south side, they would get the warmest conditions and thus be the earliest to bloom. The raised beds also warm up faster than in-ground soil. April 12 is early for tulips in Minnesota!
Mary Hockenberry Meyer
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