Tulipa sprengeri

Rodger Whitlock totototo@telus.net
Mon, 18 Nov 2013 08:48:20 PST
On 17 Nov 2013, at 13:56, James Waddick wrote:

> Dear MS and others,
>  I have fussed over pots and plots of T. sprengeri seed without success and been
>  granted multiple packets from those professing its ease of growth. 
>  Now I see others share my woes. Almost every year I’ll try a packet of seed
>  only to get poor or no germination and never anything to plant out. 
>  My single blooming size bulb died as soon as I moved it to a ‘better spot’.  I
>  join the ranks of those non-sprengeri growers who only wish for better.
>  And for all those who claim it is an easy weed.. congrats, but don’t gloat.
>  		Best		Jim W. 
> On Nov 16, 2013, at 11:26 AM, Mary Sue Ittner <msittner@mcn.org> wrote:
> > 
> > 
> > Since Rodger has continued to praise this tulip over the years I have 
> > broken the Tony Avent rule and have started it four times from seed 
> > starting in 1999.

I'm not gloating. It's sheer dumb luck that I happen to live in a place where 
T. sprengeri thrives.

The salient factors:

1. A fairly heavy, fertile clay soil. Contrary to what many think, tulips 
generally need good living and though sand is "well drained" it's too lean for 
tulips. Crocuses, on the other hand, seem to do well in sandy soil.

2. Chilly, but not cold, winters - the temperature hovers around 5 C/41F day 
and night from November through February. We do get hard freezes once in a 
while, but they are usually transient.

3. Lots of winter rain.

4. A profound summer drought. (We didn't have a drop of rain this last July.)

5. Cool summers, typical daytime temperatures being 20C/68F, nights cool enough 
to make a light jacket advisable. A 30C/86F day is a very hot day for Victoria.

6. The humidity is usually high in Victoria, but there are breezes, not the 
stagnant, steamy conditions you get around, say, Washington DC.

One surprising account I've read on this list is failure in the UK. If you have 
access to an archive of the AGS Bulletin, in the early fifties when the AGS 
fired up its first seed exchange under the guidance of E. B. Anderson, the 
instructions to would-be donors included a specific admonition NOT to send in 
seed of T. sprengeri: Anderson considered it a weed.

Which of these factors are important, I can't say.

I'll make a mental note to send seed to Dell next year. Unfortunately, deer 
have a fondness for red flowers, and since the built up area here was invaded 
by them ten or so years ago, they eat most of the T. sprengeri flowers. I don't 
get as much seed as I used to!

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

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