How to Breed Parrot Tulips


You can recognize a parrot tulip by its ruffled edges, the deep cuts on the bloom edge and its large blossoms. Some varieties are quite extravagant in colors and fringed petals, making them a showstopper of a flower in the midsummer. Since tulips need a cold resting period, the northern gardeners raise them easily, while folks without a frosty winter may need to dig them up and refrigerate them each winter to produce flowers. Breeding them involves growing the bulbs through the summer instead of picking the flowers and tossing the old bulbs, allowing new daughter bulbs to propagate from the mother bulb.

Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need
  • Shovel
  • Sand
  • Perlite
  • 5-10-10 fertilizer
  1. Dig a 12-inch-deep trench for planting the parrot tulips in the early fall, before the ground freezes, using a garden shovel. Make sure that you plant the bulbs low enough that the winter frost line for the area is above the bulbs or the bulb will freeze and rot. Check with your local extension office if you are not sure, but generally, the colder the winters, the deeper the frost line.
  2. Lay the bulbs in the trench with the root end down. Fill the trench with the removed soil mixed with sand and perlite to help increase the drainage of water from the site, covering the bulbs.
  3. Fertilize the bulbs in the spring when the green growth is a few inches high using a 5-10-10 fertilizer at 2 lbs. per 100 feet, and then again after the tulip has flowered.
  4. Enjoy the blossom in the summer, but cut it with pruning shears before it has a chance to set seed and drain the bulb. Allow the greens to grow until they yellow and shrivel; new growth will emerge in the spring from the mother bulb as well as the daughter bulbs.

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