Can You Grow Tulips From Seed?- Yes You can grow almost every Tulip variety from its seeds. All you need is to get the seed to start growing. Finding a viable Tulip seed is probably more difficult than growing them.
Tulips or Tulipa are perennial herbaceous plants. These plants are popular for their vibrant and beautiful flowers. Tulips are cold-weather flowers and can be grown in USDA hardiness zone 3 to 9. Don’t worry if you live in Zone 10 or 11, you can still grow tulips in your garden with little care.
Commercial growers propagate Tulips from their Bulbs. Tulip bulbs are easy to collect, store, and grow. Although Tulips can be grown from seeds that form after flowering. The Tulip flower leaves a pod that bears those small seeds. These seeds can be collected and grown afterward with proper care.
After all of these efforts, you will have to wait for a couple of years to look at what it finally blooms. And yes, don’t expect the bloom to match the flower that gives the seeds. If you are fine with all of these then go ahead and try growing Tulips with seeds.
Check out my previous post: Everything About Soil Requirements for Tulip Plant
Do Tulips bear Viable Seeds?
Yes, generally most Tulip varieties can bear viable seeds. These seeds can germinate and grow into a new Tulip plant. It requires you to let the seed pod mature after blooming. You can collect the seeds once the seed pod turns brown. Usually, we don’t want that as it can drain the nutrients from the tulip bulb.
Tulip bulbs are more important for us than those seeds. So you have to decide whether you can risk the bulbs just to collect some seeds. And Yes, It may or may not germinate in your local climate conditions.
Can you Grow Tulips from seed head?
Yes, We can grow Tulips from seed heads. These seed heads contain small seeds that can germinate and develop into a seedling.
To obtain a seed head you have to leave the flower to mature and produce the seed pod. Tulip seed pods look like an elliptical capsule. It shrinks while drying. Pluck the pods once they turn completely brown and dry.
Take out the seeds and dry them in low sunlight for a couple of days. Finally, mix them with a pinch of fungicide to avoid infection. Later you can grow these seeds after proper cold stratification.
Read This: Know Water Requirements of Tulip Plants
Is it easy to grow Tulips from Seed?
No, not really. Growing Tulips is not easy especially from seeds. You can disagree with me. But in my experience germinating and caring for the Tulip seeds is a tedious and very time taking task.
You can grow Tulips from their bulbs in half of this time. Bulbs are a more viable way to propagate Tulips. you can rely on a Tulip bulb for quality and consistency with bloom size and color. This is not possible with Tulips grown from seeds. It can grow from seeds but you have to take care of the Tulip seedlings for at least 3 years before any bloom can occur. Even after all of these efforts, the bloom quality will differ from the actual plant where you have collected the seeds.
How Do you germinate Tulip Seeds?
First of all, you have to collect Tulip Seeds. Itself this is a difficult task. Generally, you won’t find tulip seeds in any garden store or online. Beware of frauds who sell wild fake seeds with authentic tulip variety names. You can only trust a fellow gardener for the authenticity of Tulip seeds as no one develops tulip seeds for gardening. It will be difficult but not impossible. After a little search and research, you will fing=d some authentic Tulips seeds.
Once you have the Tulip seeds, It’s time for the Stratification of the seeds. It is an artificial process of cooling the seed to end its dormancy. Cold stratification can take 2 to 3 months depending on the Tulip variety and your preparation.
- Collect the Tulip seeds and dry them out in sunlight for a couple of days.
- Then wrap the seeds in a moist paper towel and pack them in an airtight polybag. You can use cocopeat or peat moss instead of a paper towel.
- Put the polybag in the refrigerator or vegetable cooler. Cool it at 48 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t freeze the seeds or they may die.
- Leave the bags in cold fruit and vegetable storage for the next couple of months.
- Meanwhile, spray the seed to maintain moisture. Mix 0.5% fungicide and seaweed extract with 1-liter water to spray. This will maintain proper protection.
- Take out the bags after 75 to 90 days and place them in a cool well-lit area.
- This temperature change will force the seeds to germinate. Although you have to wait for a couple more months to see any visible change in the seedlings.
Read This: Tulip Temperature Requirements: Everything to Know
How Long does it take to grow tulips from seed?
It can take anywhere between 8 to 12 months to grow Tulips from seed. The germination itself takes 2 to 3 months in ideal condition. Normally you may have to wait for 6 months to see your Tulip seeds germinated. Another 6 to 8 months is required to develop the seedling into a Tulip plant.
A couple more months is required for the bulbs to mature and become strong enough to sustain transplantation. You can only transplant Tulips when the bulbs develop a proper dry shell covering. Tulips with light-colored white or cream bulbs are not strong to sustain transplantation. It should look brown and a little dark with a hard touch.
Collectively It can take 1 to 2 years for the seeds to develop into mature Tulip plants. Sometimes this time can extend up to 6 years before these Tulips can bloom. Even after these years, the chance of good blooming in Tulips is uncertain.
Check out: Why are My Tulips Turning Yellow? 12 Reasons to Know
How to Grow Tulips from Seed?
- Get some viable Tulip seeds to grow. You can either buy these seeds or collect them from an old mature tulip plant.
- Stratify or cold treat these seeds for a couple of months. You can use a moist paper towel or cocopeat or peat moss. Wrap the seeds and place them in a cooler for 60 to 80 days.
- Take out the seeds after 80 to 90 days from the refrigerator.
- Gently inspect the Tulip seeds for any germination. If nothing was seen then don’t worry, continue with the steps.
- Carefully Place the seeds in 2-inch soil, compost, and sand mix. Everything should be in equal proportion.
- Moist the soil mix and place the germinated seeds over the soil.
- Put 1/2 to 1/4 inch of the same soil mix over the Tulip seeds.
- Spray the seeds with water and 0.5% fungicide and seaweed extract. Don’t pour water else the seeds may flow away.
- Keep the growing media in a controlled environment. Maintain an optimum temperature between 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the germination process.
- Once you see any sign of germination raise the temperature to 70 degrees and keep it stable for another 2 to 3 months.
- It will take time and you can’t speed this process. Only make sure the seeds never dry out completely else the seedling will die.
- The seedling will take the form of a Tulip plant within 6 to 8 months. Wait for the bulbs to harden off then transplant them outside in the garden.
- More or less you have to wait for a couple of years after tulip seed germination to get any bloom.
- Meanwhile feed the Tulip plants with a slow-release fertilizer. Prevent any pest or fungal diseases. Water regularly whenever required. Avoid overwatering and over-fertilization, both are harmful to the Tulip Plant.
Do Tulips grown from seed have good Bloom?
Tulips grown from seed may or may not bloom according to your desire. It is most likely to differ from its parent due to cross-pollination among different varieties. The quality and color can differ from expectation. It can’t be controlled manually. So it is better to decide whether you are ready to take the risk of no bloom or not likely any favorite bloom.
You should appreciate it even for getting a simple bloom. As sometimes These seed-grown Tulips can stand alike there for decades without any bloom. So if you get the bloom then appreciate your efforts and yes the Luck and dedication for waiting those years.
In my opinion, Tulips grown from seeds have good bloom especially if you have collected seeds on your own. Don’t expect for similar flower yet a good flower is something you can get.
Also read: How to Remove Wilted Tulip after Blooming?
Is it Better to grow tulips from seed instead of bulbs?
No Tulip seeds are not better than mature bulbs. It is always better to grow Tulips from Bulbs instead of seeds. first of all the seed may or may not germinate.
If it germinates then you have to water it for a couple of years to transplant it outdoor. Another year or two may require for These seed-grown Tulip plants to bloom. Finally, the Bloom is likely to differ from the original Tulip plant that gives the seed. This is mainly due to extensive cross-pollination in tulip varieties. There is a fair possibility of no blooming in these Tulip Plants. Therefore to avoid all of these uncertainties you should use Bulbs instead of seeds to grow tulips.
Tulips grown for bulbs can bloom within a year of transplant. These bulbs can assure you of the optimum color and flower size just like its parent plant.
Benefits of Growing Tulips from seeds
Up to now, we have discussed how hard is it to grow tulips from seeds. You may think if it’s so difficult and useless then why do we discuss it here.
You are right but there is something you don’t know about nature. New plant varieties can only develop from sexual reproduction among different parent varieties. This is not possible with tulips propagated with bulbs.
Instead, Tulips grown from seeds can induce new characters like unique color, size, maybe fragrance to the offspring. It is difficult but possible to create a desired Tulip variety with seed propagation. This requires selective breeding or cross-pollination among two Tulip varieties of desired traits. You have to be cautious about impurities. And yes it can take several tries and successive attempts to achieve the final desired outcome.
This is not comfortable for home gardeners but if you want you can achieve this. Records show that most of the popular Tulip varieties are developed in someone’s backyard after years of controlled cross-pollination.
You have to be patient to achieve the success that can earn you name and fame, and of course lots of money.
Read this: How to Grow Tulips in a Greenhouse?
You can indeed grow Tulips from their seeds. Although it is a difficult and time taking task. You should not rely on seed-grown tulips for the best quality blooms. Instead, you should grow tulips with seeds for an experiment.
All of the different Tulip varieties that you see today are developed from seeds. Therefore growing Tulips from seeds doesn’t mean wasting time. With time and proper knowledge, you can create a unique blend of color and quality in your Tulip variety. If you love experimenting then try growing Tulips with seeds and share your experience with us.
2 thoughts on “Can You Grow Tulips From Seed?”
How much seaweed and anti fungal should I mix with my distilled water I spray on them? Also can they remain dry a few months before putting them in the cold/damp? If I start this process they will be coming out to germinate in October.
Hi, Darla, Answer to your first question- mix just 1 spoon of fungicide in 2-4 liters or approx a gallon of water. The dose of seaweed is usually described on their packets as per concentration although you should use around 10 ml per gallon. 5-10ml liquid seaweed is enough for foliar spray.
Next, you can keep them dry and well aerated for 8-12 months in storage. so don’t worry about that and start early in September if you want them germinated properly in October.
Just follow the steps carefully and keep the bulbs healthy. Good luck and keep gardening.