Tulipa sprengeri

Rodger Whitlock totototo@telus.net
Wed, 09 May 2012 12:40:27 PDT
On 9 May 2012, at 10:48, James Waddick wrote:

> Some of you may moan-not this again, but I have written about this species
> often and still have little success in growing this bulb. It confounds me. 
> I just got seed from the BX and will try yet again. In looking around the web
> I saw a suggestion that sprengeri requires 'Acid sand' for best growth. Is
> this true? 

I don't think so. As pictures from my garden on the wiki show, T. sprengeri 
grows very freely for me. In fact it would be fair to call it a weed except for 
the minor details that it doesn't choke anything else out and I like it very 

My soil is unamended, fairly heavy, poorly drained, and probably on the acid 
side. It is not, however, that horrible sticky clay that is derived from the 
blue marine clay that is distressingly common on southern Vancouver Island. 
Rather, it appears to be clay laid down as sediment as the glaciers melted: 
heavy but not sticky when wet, and below the surface horizon of a blonde color 
when dry.

Reconstruction of a big storm sewer last fall of a big storm sewer that runs 
across my property showed this "good" clay deposit is nine or ten feet thick. 
Underneath it is the sticky blue "bad" clay.
> My garden is alkaline and clay.  Am I doomed to failure? Could I grow these
> in a separate trough? 

I suspect you are doomed, DOOMED! I tell you! But quite possibly because this 
tulip cannot tolerate the hot humid summers you get.

> Does anyone have spare bulbs to trade ?

If we were in the same city, I'd invite you over to dig your own. I have more 
than enough, including one of those foot-cube plastic milk crates full of bulbs 
rescued before the storm sewer work began. 

> I'll try these newest seeds in a sandy acid mix just to get some seedlings
> to try in the garden, but I am feeling the whole idea is doomed. DOOMED!  

Yes, you are probably DOOMED!, DOOMED! I tell you.
> Appreciate some expertise about soil, pH requirements or even anyone with
> success in similar clay soils and Zone 5/6 conditions. Maybe they are just
> too tender for here.

I'm zone 7 or thereabouts. It's not uncommon here for the roses to be blooming 
on Christmas Day, though by no means every year.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Z. 7-8, cool Mediterranean climate

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