Tulips for Harris County

Harris County Tulip Trial 2015

Harris County Tulip Trial 2015

Tulips are a great sign that spring is coming, but growing them in Houston can be a challenge. If you grew up in the Northeast or Midwest tulips were a mainstay in the spring landscape.  We planted five varieties to see how they would perform under our growing conditions (Table 1).

Table 1. Tulip varieties evaluated

Variety Color Type
World Favorite Scarlet red with yellow edging Darwin Hybrid
World Peace Magenta petals edged in gold Darwin Hybrid
Passionale Deep purple Triumph
Van Eijk Dark pink Darwin Hybrid
Onno Vanden Brink Creamy yellow Triumph

The pre-chilled bulbs were planted on January 13, 2015. A 3’ wide hole was dug approximately 4” deep. One hundred bulbs were placed in each hole, back-covered with soil, mulched and watered.  In our trial, the crop time was 10 weeks from planting to final bloom (Table 2).

Table 2. Tulip trial timeline

Bulbs planted Week 3
Plants breaking the soil Week 6
1st bloom color Week 9
Peak color Week 11
Blooming ended Week  13

VARIETIES:

World Peace

World Peace

World Peace – the first variety to start blooming. Reached a landscape height of 22-24”. The flower color and quality performed well during the rains we had in March.

World Favorite

World Favorite

World Favorite – the next variety to come into flower. World Favorite was similar in habit to World Peace, with a landscape height of 18-22”.

Passionale

Passionale

Passionale – the shortest of the 5 varieties with a landscape height of 8-12”. I would recommend this variety for the front of the bed.

Van Eijk

Van Eijk

Van Eijk – a good dark pink color with a landscape height of 13-15”.

Onno vanden Brink

Onno vanden Brink

Onno vanden Brink – The last variety to bloom in the trial with a landscape height of 16-18”.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

If you are a landscaper/designer looking for some different color options for early spring then tulips might fill that void. I am sure you have customers that are transplants from the north wanting to see tulips in the landscape. It is now possible to enjoy tulips for early spring color in Houston.  The crop is easy to grow and provides some spectacular color. By planting pre-chilled bulbs, you can insure consistent growth and bloom in the landscape. These bulbs will not perennialize and it is recommended that they be removed after flowering has ended.

So next fall/winter if your customer wants something different in their landscape why not try some tulips.

Special thanks to Margaret Cherry and Abbott-Ipco Inc. for supplying the bulbs for the trial.

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