Tulipa saxatilis (originating from Crete)

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Mon, 16 Aug 2004 10:36:53 PDT
Colleen Hubbard in Australia wrote:
>Hybrid tulips don't do very well in Western Australia's Mediterranean 
>climate, so I am delighted to find this lovely species tulip that can 
>survive all that our summer (temp. can reach 40 degrees C and higher) can 
>throw at it.
>Depending on whether I can obtain any seed, I would like to try to grow 
>some other hardy species tulips. Therefore, I would appreciate hearing 
>about any tips members may have on doing this.

Species tulip seed can be purchased from Jim and Jenny Archibald 
<http://www.jjaseeds.com/> and from some of the Czech collectors' lists. I got T. 
cretica from the Archibalds. Many of the Central Asian tulips come from 
areas with blazing hot summers (see Janis Ruksans's article in the spring 
2004 issue of the Rock Garden Quarterly). T. cretica seed will be very 
expensive, since it's a rare species, but T. humilis should be inexpensive 
and also available through free exchanges such as that of the North 
American Rock Garden Society <http://www.nargs.org/>.

Growing some species tulips from seed requires patience, since they will 
rarely flower in fewer than four growing seasons (the easier species, such 
as T. tarda) and sometimes not for six or seven. However, this is a good 
way to get disease-free stock, as long as you keep them away from your 
commercial tulips. The seeds should be planted in fall for germination and 
growth over the cool season. (You can store them at room temperature until 
the Southern Hemisphere fall without harming the seeds.) The seedling bulbs 
are very small and should be kept in the seed pots for two years, 
fertilized while in growth. The third year they can be moved to larger 
pots, and by the fourth year they should be able to go into the garden 
provided it isn't rodent-infested. Have European bulb pests such as 
squirrels and voles invaded Australia?

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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