Tulips are arguably the most popular autumn planted flower bulb and the most recognisable sign of spring. Due to the vast variety of colour, shape, and size on offer most gardens will be filled with tulips along with other spring blooming plants. However, many people are unsure as to whether tulips return year after year or will only last for one spring season.
Annual vs Perennial
In the gardening world flowers are either annuals or perennials. Annual plants will only grow for one season whereas perennials regrow every spring but have a shorter blooming period compared to annuals.
So, are tulips annuals or perennials? Well, wild, untouched tulips can thrive in severe environments such as the mountains of Iran, Russian and Turkey. This is because over time they have acclimatised to cold winters and hot summers. Therefore, in their natural habitat tulips are perennials. However, gardens in the UK cannot provide the same environment and will rarely see tulips grow back year after year. Furthermore, most of the tulips that are available to purchase today have been hybridised so act differently to natural tulips.
If you are determined to see your tulips return every year, then you will need to give them a helping hand.
How to make tulips come back year after year
There are a few tips and tricks that encourage tulips to come back every year. Although they are not guaranteed, it does make the likelihood greater.
- Familiarise yourself with what tulips varieties are more likely to perennialize. Darwin hybrids, Greigii, and Kaufmanniana are known for their ability to perennialize.
- Keep your tulips dry as too much water will cause the bulbs to rot leaving them unable to perennialize.
- As mentioned above, tulips thrive in harsh environments. So, planting your tulip bulbs in a sunny area increases the likelihood of them returning year after year.
- Once the tulips have finished blooming and starter to wither cut the dead heads from the tulips. This way the plant will preserve the energy it needs for the winter months.