Growing Tulips in South Carolina

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Tulips are not that easy to grow in our warm climate. They need 10 – 14 weeks of chilly weather to prepare to bloom, which we just don’t get here. Fortunately, with a little special handling, you can be successful getting tulips to bloom at home.

Buy tulip bulbs in the fall and leave them in a refrigerator for 8 – 10 weeks before you plant them, making sure to get rid of any soft or moldy bulbs. Planting them outside in early winter will give you enough natural chill time for spring blooms here. It also helps to plant them in a pot outside. The soil in a pot stays cooler than the ground.

Regarding care, tulips need a regular weekly drink of water, either from rain or hand watering. If you keep them partially shaded, the stems will be longer than if you plant them in full sun. Sudden swings in temperature (like what we experience in February and March) will hurry the blooms along, and you may still have a short stem 

Harvest the blooms when they are still closed but showing some color.  Pull the entire plant up, bulb and all. Tulips are effectively annuals here, so no need to leave the bulb behind. Trim the bulb off and put it in your compost bin along with any leaves that you want to remove. Rinse off all visible dirt.  Place the stems immediately in water.

When selecting a vase for your tulips, keep in mind that they will continue to elongate in the vase. Tulips are very sensitive to light and will bend toward it, so you may want to turn the vase occasionally to keep them more upright.

You are invited to the farm this Wednesday and Thursday, February 13 and 14th from 11am to 1 pm for our pop-up tulip shop. Not the basic ones, but some fun specialty varieties.  Take a break and come pick some up. They are $8 - $10 per bunch of 10 stems, depending on the variety. Give a Valentines Day gift to a loved one, a gal pal or yourself! Call ahead if you would like to pre-order or if you have any questions.

Hope to see you soon,

Linda

Purple Tuteur Farm 787 Langford Road, Blythewood, SC 29016

803-413-2573

A Note on Daffodils

 
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Daffodils are starting to show themselves around Columbia. This warm spell has really brought them out. If you have blooms or colored buds on your daffodils, you may want to go ahead and cut them before the freeze that is forecast overnight on Saturday. Cut the flower stem at ground level. Leave the leaves behind and uncut. Leaves absorb energy from the sun that restores the bulb for next year’s flower.

If you are lucky enough to have daffodils (including paperwhites and heirloom narcissus) and other flowers to make an arrangement, be sure to place the daffodils in a separate vase for 24 hours after cutting. The daffodils secrete a substance that is toxic to other flowers.  Waiting 24 hours to mix them with anything else gives the stems time to heal over so they will not affect other flowers. If you trim your stems mid-week (a good practice for making your flowers last!) you must repeat the healing process before combining them again.  

Winter isn’t over yet, but it sure has been nice to get this first glimpse of spring!

Wishing you a happy Valentines Day,

Linda

P.S. Subscriptions are going quickly! We only have capacity for 10 more. If you want one this season, please don’t hesitate. You can order online at www.purpletuteur.com