potted tulip is dying and I am unsure of why and what to do. It
is yellow and wilting and flowers have dropped off. Please help,
what should I do?
yellowing and wilting of leaves is part of the natural process that
bulbs, like tulips, go through. Leaves emerge through the soil in
spring, flowers appear, then the leaves start to wilt and yellow
as food stored in the leaves is absorbed back down into the bulb.
You can now knock the tulip out of its pot and replant it into fresh
But to flower successfully
tulips require winter chilling. If you do not live in a naturally
cold region that has frosts in winter, before repotting you will
need to artifically chill your tulip bulb in the refridgerator for
When chilling tulips
there are a few things to watch. Store in a paper bag that will
"breathe", not plastic. Keep bulbs away from the back of the fridge
where they risk icing up. Avoid storing ripening fruit in the fridge
at the same time as it releases ethylene gas which inhibits flower
It may be easier to plant
the tulip out into the garden and buy a new bulb for growing in
a pot. If you purchase a new bulb from a garden centre, it will
have been through the chilling process and is ready to plant.
One point worth noting,
if your tulip has been "forced" to flower out of season, it is unlikely
the bulb will be viable. Most forced bulbs will only flower once.
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH