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One of the most intriguing tulips for the early spring garden, Johann Strauss tulips begin as plump, cheerful red and yellow swirls that open flat to reveal an inside of almost pure white with a centre ring of red.
This variety is a perfect example of why Kaufmanniana tulips are also waterlily tulips. The blooms seem to float on a sea of deep green foliage striped and splashed with rich burgundy. It grows only about 8” high, so it makes a gorgeous planting at the front of the perennial border, or pot in containers for early spring displays.
Planting Your Tulip Bulbs.
For stunning visual effect in beds and borders tulip bulbs are best planted quite close together, 100mm to 150mm apart. In beds and borders they look best when planted in small groups of about 10 to 12. They can look exceptionally spectacular when planted around the base of buildings or fence lines.
Pot grown tulips can be planted closer at 50mm – 75mm apart. When selecting varieties of tulips you should take note of their height when full grown as there are many variations. There are also several variations of single and double flowering types.
Once the number of tulip bulbs have been calculated and purchased it’s best to plant them as soon as possible. The period between mid-September and mid-November is ideal but avoid planting in frozen ground or when frost is imminent. Most bulbs, which are to be planted in the ground should be planted around 100mm deep ensuring the root end of the bulb is in contact with the soil and then covered with soil and firmly pressed. A hand trowel is the best tool for planting tulip bulbs. Tulip bulbs planted in pots will do best if planted close and at least 100mm deep. Soil rather than compost will offer the most support.
Tulips will perform best in sunny or partial shade positions and can be grown in virtually any type of soil, however they will grow best in neutral, well drained soils.
Heavy clay type soils will need some preparation work, which could include the addition of lime and well-rotted vegetable matter or leaf mould.
The bulbs contain their own food store, which will be sufficient to support the growing plant and flowers for the duration of their growing season. If you intend to leave the bulbs for future seasons then some bulb fertiliser would prove beneficial.
Remove flower heads (deadheading) and let the plant die back before removing. This allows the food supply in the plant to swell and feed the main bulblet that will produce next year's flower.
The dead tulip foliage and petals should be removed and not composted. Tulip plants can carry the disease 'tulip fire' as they die off in late spring.
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