Hot-summer Tulipa and other species?

Leo A. Martin
Thu, 23 Jun 2005 17:29:06 PDT

This fall I'm going to be constructing a fairly large rock garden with 
extremely well-drained soil and boulders.

I'm looking for suggestions as to bulbs to plant, especially species 
Tulipa or others from Asia Minor and the Middle East, which I suspect 
may have a climate similar to here. There is almost no information 
available about growing Tulipa in hot summer climates.

Summer rain occurs between early July and mid September and falls as 
deluges in thunderstorms. The ground dries in a few days. Daytime highs 
are routinely above 105F for months on end. Night lows are in the upper 
80s to low 90s during this time. About 60% of our annual average 8 
inches of rain falls in the summer.

Fall is dry and temperatures decrease. By November nights are in the 60s 
or lower.

Winter rain starts sometime in November. Gentle, steady rains begin. 
But, they are spotty. Daytime temperatures are in the 70s or perhaps 
60s, and nights in the 40s to 50s. Here, I get 5-20 nights per year with 
a few hours below freezing, usually between 20F and 30F.

Winter rain stops and spring starts between February and April. 
Temperatures begin rising.

I live next to some periodic streams and my soil consists of fist to 
eraser-sized rocks with a little dust in between. I will be filling the 
proposed beds with more substantial soil, but it will still drain fast 
and have very little organic matter.

Mediterranean climate plants (bulbs, mesembs) do exceptionally well here 
in the winter with supplemental watering. I have grown them in pots and 
brought the pots under cover or into the house for the summer.

I guess the main concern will be the summer rain. Typically I will get 
4-6 thunderstorms at my house. Each will wet the soil to about 2-4 
inches. I think all but the most fastidious bulbs wouldn't mind such a 
small amount of summer rain.

Bulbs that have done well here in the ground with little care include 
paperwhite narcissus, Amaryllis belladonna, red Lycoris, common Muscari, 
Calochortus (some native), Brodiea (B. pulchellum is native), common 
Tulbaghia, Rhodophiala, and something with broad strap-shaped leaves 
that grows every summer but never blooms. (Not Hippeastrum, not 
Agapanthus.) Those that don't make it long include 'Chinese sacred lily' 
yellow narcissus, Dutch iris hybrids, and any hybrid tulips, which are 
annuals here.

 From reading it seems some of the species Tulipa might do well here.


Thank you,

Leo A. Martin
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Some must watch while some must sleep-so runs the world away.

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