tulips in warm climates

Rodger Whitlock totototo@telus.net
Mon, 05 Mar 2012 19:07:02 PST
On 5 Mar 2012, at 19:13, Peter Taggart wrote:

> I am happy to be corrected but I believe that most tulips will not persist
> in acid soil and that the addition of a little lime may make a difference.

Or crushed eggshells for very slow release of calcium.

Admittedly, the sparrows, juncos, and other little brown birds (LBB's) have 
pecked up most of the eggshell I scattered on my bulb bed last fall.

In the Pacific Northwest, our heavy winter rains leach out soluble nutrients, 
including calcium, so liming is an important part of keeping one's plants 
growing well. You don't need to add extravagant amounts, but since clay soils 
are very highly buffered thanks to the ion binding properties of clay 
particles, it's pretty hard to overdose.

Lime also has the virtue of flocculating clay soils, improving the texture. 
Thanks to the stupidity of my local municipality, I now have a large bed with 
badly compacted clay soil that draineth not, where I used to have sharply 
draining sandy soil. It's already had one bag of lime to help it loosen its 
bowels (so to speak) and will get several more.

If you garden under or near large conifers, their needles can easily make the 
soil around them excessively acidic, and lime can make all the difference in 
that case too.

When I say "lime", I mean calcium carbonate in the form of agricultural lime or 
ground limestone, not dolomite. Dolomite is a double carbonate of calcium and 
magnesium, and is considerably less soluble than lime itself, hence acts much 
more slowly. If your garden needs a pep up with magnesium, the simplest way to 
do this is a foliar spray of Epsom salts. 
Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Z. 7-8, cool Mediterranean climate

More information about the pbs mailing list