Sunday, July 17, 2011

Seed Production Technology of Flowers


References to flowers and gardens are found in ancient Sanskrit classics like the Rig Veda (C 3000-2000 BC), Ramayana (C 1200-1300 BC), Mahabharata (prior to 4th Century BC), Shudraka (100 BC), Ashvagodha (C 100 AD), Kalidasa (C 400 AD) and Sarangdhara (C 1200 AD). The social and economic aspects of flower growing were, however, recognized much later. The offering and exchange of flowers on all social occasions, in places of worship and their use for adornment of hair by women and for home decoration have become an integral part of human living. With changing life styles and increased urban affluence, floriculture has assumed a definite commercial status in recent times and during the past 2-3 decades particularly. Appreciation of the potential of commercial floriculture has resulted in the blossoming of this field into a viable agri-business option. Availability of natural resources like diverse agro-climatic conditions permit production of a wide range of temperate and tropical flowers, almost all through the year in some part of the country or other. Improved communication facilities have increased their availability in every part of the country. The commercial activity of production and marketing of floriculture products is also a source of gainful and quality employment to scores of people.

    Present Situation of Cut Flower Production

Inspite of the long and close association with floriculture, the records of commercial activity in the field are very few. The information on the area under floriculture and the production generated is highly inadequate. As commercial floriculture is an activity which has assumed importance only in recent times, there are not many large farms engaged in organised floriculture. In most part of the country flower growing is carried out on small holdings, mainly as a part of the regular agriculture systems.


  Polianthes  tuberosa  L.;  Amaryllidaceae

This plant, with its tall spikes of waxen and fragrant white flowers, is well known in the middle latitudes, but usually requires more heat and a longer season than are commonly present in the most northern states.The tuberose is a strong feeder, and loves warmth, plenty of water while growing, and a deep, rich, and well-drained soil. The bulbs may be set in the garden or border the last of May or in June, covering them about 1 inch deep. Preparatory to planting, the old dead roots at the base of the bulb should be cut away and the pips or young bulbs about the sides removed.  After keeping them till their scars are dried over, these pips may be planted 5 or 6 inches apart in drills, and with good soil and cultivation they will make blooming bulbs for the following year.  Before planting the large bulbs, it may be well to examine the points, to determine whether they are likely to bloom. The tuberose blooms but once. If there is a hard, woody piece of old stem in the midst of the dry scales at the apex of the bulb, it has bloomed, and is of no value except for producing pips. Likewise if, instead of a solid core, there is a brownish, dry cavity extending from the tip down into the middle of the bulb, the heart has rotted or dried up, and the bulb is worthless as far as blooming is concerned.  Bulbs of blooming size set in the border in June flower toward the close of September. They may be made to flower three or four weeks sooner by starting them early in some warm place, where they may be given a temperature of about 60 to 70 degrees. Prepare the bulbs as above, and place them with their tips just above the surface in about 3-or 4-inch pots, in light sandy soil. Water them thoroughly, afterwards sparingly, till the leaves have made considerable growth. These plants may be turned out into the open ground the last of May or in June, and will probably flower in early September. In the northern states, if planted in the border they will not start into growth until the ground has become thoroughly warm, - usually after the middle of June, - making the season before frost too short for their perfect growth and flower. If any danger of fall frost is feared, they may be lifted into pots or boxes and taken into the house, when they will bloom without a check. As with other bulbs, a sandy soil will suit.Just before frost dig up the bulbs, cut off the tops to within 2 inches of the apex of the bulb. They may then be placed in shallow boxes and left out in the sun and air for a week or more, to cure. Each evening, if the nights are cold, they should be removed to some room where the temperature will not fall below 40 degrees. When the outer scales have become dry, the remaining soil may be shaken off and the bulbs stored away in shallow boxes for the winter. They keep best in a temperature of 45 to 50 degrees. It should never fall below 40.


'Rajat Rekha: It is a single flowered variety released by NBRI, Lucknow. The flowers have silvery white streaks along the middle of blade.

Shringar: It is a single flowered variety released by IIHR, Bangalore. The flower bud is attractive with slightly pinkish tinge. Its loose flowers are ideal for making garland while spikes can be used as cut flowers. Yield of loose flowers is about 15,000 kg/ha/yr Shringar  is preferred by farmers and industries due to its higher flower yield.

 Single Mexican: It is a single flowered variety. Produces maximum flowers during October-December, which is considered as lean months for tuberose flowers yield. Svarna Rekha: It is a double flowered variety released by NBRI, Lucknow. The flowers are double and the leaf margin is streaked with golden yellow.

Suvasini: It is a double flowered variety released by IIHR, Bangalore. It is a cross between 'Single' and 'Double'. This variety produces more flowers per spike. The spikes are best suited for cut flowers.

Dwarf : The dwarf tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa L.) is an important floral crop in Taiwan, where they are crossbred to add colors such as purple, pink, orange and yellow. As the name says, they're the shortest of the three types.

Pearl Excelsior:  This medium-sized plant sports pretty, pale pink buds opening into white flowers. The Pearl was discovered by a nurseryman named John Henderson in 1870 and sold simply as the "Excelsior. 


Well-drained loam and sandy loam soil, 45cm deep and having pH range from 6.5-7.5 are considered ideal for cultivation of tuberose. With better agronomical practices, tuberose can be grown successfully as a commercial crop under high saline-alkaline soil conditions. A place protected from strong winds is preferable.

Tuberose prefers to grow in an open sunny location, away from the shade of trees. It requires warm and humid climate although flowering is profuse under mild climate. Under extremes of high (>40OC), or low temperatures the spike length and the quality of the flowers is severely affected. A temperature range from 20-30OC is considered to ideal for this crop.



Stem Rot

The disease symptoms are preceded by the appearance of prominent spots of loose green colour due to rotting which extend and cover the entire leaf. The infected leaves get detached from the plant. More or less round sclerotic, brown spots are formed on and around the infected leaf. As a result, the infected plant becomes weak and unproductive.

Control: The disease can be controlled by soil application of Brassicol (20%) @ 30kg/hectare.

Botrytis Spot and Blight (Botrytis elliptic)

The disease appears during the rainy season. Infected flowers show dark brown spots and ultimately the entire inflorescence dries up. The infection also occurs on the leaves and stalks.

Control: Spraying the plants with Carbendazim @2g/litre of water effectively controls the disease. The treatment should be repeated at 15 days interval.

Sclerotial Wilt (Sclerotium rolfsii) :

The initial symptom of this disease is flaccidity and drooping of leaves. The leaves become yellow and dry up. The fungus mainly affects the roots and the infection gradually spreads upward through the tuber and collar portion of the stem. Both tubers and roots show rotting symptoms. Thick cottony growth of the fungus is visible on the rotten stem and on petioles at the soil level.

Control: Drenching the soil with 0.3% Zineb is effective in controlling the disease.

   Manuring & Fertilization

Tuberose is a gross feeder and responds well to the application of organic and inorganic manures.

Apart from FYM (20 tonnes/ha), a fertilizer dose of 200 kg of N, 50 kg P O and 70 Kg K O per hectare is recommended, of which 100 kg N and entire quantity of P & K is applied as a basal dose. The balance N is given in two split doses at thirty days interval. However under saline conditions, 77 kg of N, 51 k  P O and 36 kg K O per hectare is found to be effective.

Use of Growth Regulators:

The application of CCC at 5000ppm and GA at 1000ppm induces early flowering, increased flower- stalk production and improves the quality of flowers.


Initially, irrigation is given immediately after planting in order to set them in the ground and to provide them with sufficient moisture for growth initiation. Subsequent irrigation is given, depending upon the prevailing weather conditions. Usually during summer (April-June), it should be irrigated at weekly intervals and during winters at 10 days intervals.


In India tuberoses is cultivated for production of flower spikes and loose flowers on a commercial scale for the domestic market. Flowers are ready for harvest in about 3 months of planting.September is the peak period of flowering. For marketing of flower spikes, the tuberose is harvested by cutting the spikes from the base when 1-2 pairs of flowers open on the spike. Individual flowers which grow at the horizontal position on flowers stalk are picked in the early morning. The spikes are clipped by using a sharp knife/secateur that gives a clean cut, leaving about 4-6 basal portion of the scape so as not to damage the growing bulb.

Harvesting curing and storage of bulbs:

Harvesting stage of tuberose bulb is important for storage of bulbs and their growth. The bulbs are harvested when the flowering is over and plant ceases to grow. At this stage, the old leaves become dry and bulbs are almost dormant. Irrigation is withheld and soil is allowed to dry before digging out the bulbs. After digging, the bulbs are lifted out; the bulblets are separated and used as seed stock for the next season. The bulbs are graded based on their size and are placed on shelves to dry or cure. The bulbs must be stored or have their position changed every few days to prevent fungal attack and rotting. Curing can also be done by tying the bulbs in bunches and hanging them on frames and walls.


Flowers production varies with cultivar and depends upon bulb size at planting time and density planting and cultural practices adopted. Tuberose planted at a spacing of 30 x 30cm with a plant population of 1,11,000 plants/ha yield about 90,000 marketable spikes and 1.8 lakhs flowering size bulbs.


 Dianthus  Spp;  Caryophyllaceae 

There are over 300 species of Dianthus (besides Dianthus caryophyllus, the typical flower Carnation), and hundreds more of hybrid varieties. The group includes annuals, biennials and perennials. The foliage is narrow, linear, 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) long, and an attractive green to glaucous blue with a waxy covering. Carnations are available either with one large flower per stem, or as sprays with several smaller flowers on each stem. The different forms of florist Carnations are described below:-

1) Standard carnations bear a single flower 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) across on stems 16-28 inches (40-70 cm) long. The colors are mainly pink, red, orange, yellow, white, mauve and bicolored. Popular standard series include the 'Sims', the 'Sidney Littlefields' and the 'Mediterranean' varieties and hybrids.

2) Chinese, Butterfly or Mignon Carnations have frilled petals. The solitary flower 1.25-1.5 inches (3-4 cm) across comes on stems 12-24 inches (30-60 cm) long and mostly bicolored in pink, red, white and purple.

3) Midi Carnations have a smaller, single flower 0.75-1.25 inches (2-3 cm) across with slightly frilled petals. Stem length is 8-12 inches (20-30 cm). Mainly bicolors.

4) Spray or Mini Carnations bear 3-7 flowers per stem. The blooms are 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5 cm) across and usually in pink, red, orange, yellow, white, mauve and bicolored. Stems are 16-24 inches (40-60 cm) long. Good cultivars include 'Rony' (scarlet), 'Elegance' (rose-pink edged white), 'Exquisite' (violet edged white), and 'Tibet' (white flowers).

The mini flower carnation was produced in the 1960's in America by carnation hybridist Pomeroy Thompson. He had to take some flowers to a sick friend in hospital. He had missed the routine disbudding of some carnations which were now starting to produce clusters of flowers on each stem instead of just one bloom. So He pinched out the central bud on each stem and left the side blooms to flower. The friend loved these new multi spray type flowers and so the miniature carnation was born.                                    . 5) Micro Carnations carry 2-4 small flowers, 0.50-0.75 inches (1.5-2 cm) across, on each stem. Predominantly in red, yellow, white, purple and bicolored. Stem length is 12-16 inches (30-40 cm). These may also be called Eolo (a variety of micro carnation).                                 .6) Dianthini Carnations are spray type carnations with 2-4 tiny flowers on each stem. These little blooms are less than 0.75 inches (2 cm) across and the petals come edged in white. Stems are 12-16 inches (30-40 cm) long.

7) Pinks produce 1-3 opening flowers that are 0.75-1.5 inches (2-4 cm) across on each stem. Stems are 8-16 inches (20-40 cm) long. Not all the buds will open up.

Types of carnation

Cheddar Pinks: Cheddar pinks (Dianthus grataniapolitensis) have fragrant soft pink flowers in the summer. They are perennials that grow 12 inches wide and 15 inches tall in the sun. Cheddar pinks grow in a dense mat and can be used as a ground cover.

Sweet Williams: Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) is a biennial--itgerminates and grows the first year and blooms the second year. It reseeds easily, so a new crop of plants grows each year. The fragrant flowers are white, pink, red or salmon. Sweet William blooms in late spring or summer. It grows 18 inches wide and 18 inches high in alkaline soil in the sun. It is tolerant of cold, heat and humidity.

Maiden Pinks : Maiden pinks (Dianthus deltoides) are short-lived perennials. They grow 8 inches wide and 15 inches high in alkaline soil in the sun. The pink or red flowers bloom in the summer. Maiden pinks form a dense mat and can be used as a ground cover.

Hardy Annual Dianthus :Hardy annual dianthus (Dianthus chinensis) grows 6 to 18 inches wide and 6 inches high. It has white, pink or red flowers from spring to fall. The plants grow in alkaline soil in the sun. Hardy annual dianthus will stop flowering or even die in hot, humid weather.

Soil and Climate: Well drained and Red loamy soil with the pH of 6 is most suitable. Temperature should be within the range of 250  C - 270  C.

Season: Throughout the year as it is cultivated under controlled conditions.

Propagation and Planting: Plantlets/suckers 5-10 cm terminal cuttings treated with NAA at 500 ppm for 5 minutes. Cuttings are dipped in Carbendazim 2g/lit. solution. Raised beds at  3 feet width and 45 cm height are formed at 45 cm interval and planting is done on top of the bed at 15 x 15 cm spacing

   Greenhouse cultivation of Carnations

The modern method of propagating the carnation for commercial growing is by means of cuttings which are taken from either the blooming stock or from plants that are grown for cuttings alone. The old method of layering would prove too slow in increasing stock for present-day needs. Millions of cuttings are rooted each season for planting the houses for blooming purposes. So much depends on the quality of the cutting in keeping up the vitality in the stock that expert growers have learned to discriminate in their selection. The best cuttings, if taken from the blooming stock, are those from near the middle of the flower-stems . These will not only show greater vitality than those taken higher up or lower, but they will prove more floriferous The tip cuttings are likely to give a flower-bud immediately and, if this is pinched out, develop into a weak plant. Those taken from the base develop a large spreading growth known as "grassy." The cuttings are severed by an outward pull and are afterward trimmed of all surplus foliage before being inserted in the propagating sand. Have a sharp knife with which to trim and a pail of fresh water into which to throw the cuttings as they are trimmed. Make a smooth cut at the base, near the joint, so that the lower pair of leaves will peel off readily, leaving a half-inch of clear stem to go into the sand. Shorten those leaves which turn outward, leaving those which stand fairly upright. The removal of part of the foliage is to avoid crowding in the bench and also to prevent flagging while the cutting is giving off more moisture through its leaves than it is taking up through the stem. The cuttings are inserted in the sand about ¾inch deep in rows across the bench, placing the cuttings about ¾inch apart in the row and the rows about 2½ inches apart, according to the size of the cuttings. Use a putty knife for making the cut in the sand. The sand is kept constantly moist and the cuttings are protected from both the sun and drafts by means of muslin curtains. Frequent spraying should be avoided, though it must be resorted to at times to prevent flagging on warm windy days. The most favorable conditions for propagating are usually secured during the months of December, January, February and early March. During that period, ventilation is limited and a fairly even bottom- heat is easily maintained. Keep a bottom temperature of about 60º, while the overhead temperature should be about 52°. Any bench that can be protected from sun and drafts will prove satisfactory. The bottom of the bench may be of wood or tile, the latter being preferred on account of more perfect drainage and a greater retention of warmth. The sand should be 3 inches deep after being packed down by means of a tool made from a 2-inch plank about 6 inches wide and12 inches long with an inverted V-shaped handle. In about four weeks the cuttings should be ready for potting . Those that come out of the sand February 15 or earlier should be potted first into 2- inch pots and later on shifted into larger pots as needed. Those potted later may be placed directly into 2½-inch pots and left until planted out, the object being to keep the young plants growing steadily until they are planted in the field. Stunted, pot-bound plants will be slow in breaking and are likely to develop stem-rot in the field. Use a moderately light soil and only fairly rich.

When the young plants begin to run up to flower, they should be topped back to about four joints above the pot. A low-branched plant will stand up better and will give less trouble in supporting later on. A second topping may be necessary before planting- out time, on early-propagated stock. A slight hardening-off of the young plants before planting out is beneficial, though not essential. This is usually done by placing the plants in cold-frames about two weeks prior to planting them in the field. Late April or early May is the time for planting in the field, according to latitude and climate. A rich loam, inclined to sandiness, produces the finest plants in the shortest time. In a heavy soil the growth will be heavier, but slower and less branching. Set the plants about 8 inches apart in the rows, and if hand-power is to be employed in cultivating, space the rows about 16 inches apart. Space farther if horse-power is to be used.

When a large business is done in young plants or rooted cuttings, a part of the stock is grown especially for cuttings alone. These plants are benched the same as those for blooming, but are not allowed to bloom. As the shoots begin to run up to flower, they are broken off a few joints higher up than is done when topping in the field. The young shoots which result from these breaks are taken off for cuttings, the very finest cuttings being secured in this way. These are trimmed and handled the same as those taken from the flower-stems.

When packing cuttings for shipping, moist sphagnum moss is used in which to pack the roots. Cut papers (newspapers are used mostly) into sheets about 10 by 18 inches. Lay a strip of moss about 3 inches wide across the middle of the paper lengthwise. Then lay the cuttings side by side with only the roots on the moss. When twenty-five have been laid on, begin to roll from one end until all the cuttings have been taken up. Then turn in the lower part of the paper and continue to roll until the end of the paper has been reached and tie around with any kind of cord. There is little difference in the returns from plants grown for cuttings and those grown for blooms, providing a fair market is found for each.

In shipping plants from the field, the soil is all shaken from the roots. The plants are then set upright in the shipping-cases with moist moss between the roots, a layer of damp moss having first been placed on the bottom.

Cultivate as soon as practicable after each rain, and in the absence of rain at least once each week. Shallow cultivating is recommended, just enough to maintain a loose mulch on the surface. Do not water carnations in the field under any consideration. Cultivation will preserve moisture in the soil without causing soft growth. Keep topping back the young shoots as fast as they begin to run up, thus building up a shapely bushy plant.

If plants are to be placed inside during the summer, the benches should be refilled and made ready for planting as soon after May 1 as possible. It will be a great help to get the plants under way on the benches before hot weather sets in. Fill the benches the same as for field-grown plants and set the plants where they are to bloom. Indoor culture is practicable and profitable only when the benches can be spared by early May. If a good market can be found for the May and June cut, they will more than offset the slight advantage derived in the fall from indoor culture.

If the blooming plants have not made an exceedingly rank growth, they may be cut back sharp early in May, cleaned off, mulched with long manure and grown on for blooming the following year. This should not be attempted, however, unless the plants are free from disease or insects and in good condition to break freely from the lower part of the plant.

Carnations are grown successfully on both raised and solid benches. Perfect drainage is essential, and must be provided for, if solid beds are to be used. There will be no difference in the quality or the quantity if both are properly handled. By the end of June the old blooming plants will become exhausted, and refilling the benches to receive the new plants from the field will be in order. Clean out the old soil, whitewash the inside of the benches with hot lime and allow to dry before refilling with the new earth. Four inches of soil is enough, and should be of equal depth all over the bench, especially along the edges. The soil should be fairly moist, but not wet when the plants are set, so that the roots may draw moisture from the soil rather than have the soil draw the moisture from the roots. On the other hand, soil for potting or planting should never be handled while in a wet condition. If too dry at the time of filling the beds, water, and let stand long enough to dry to the proper state before planting.

Apply a light shade of lime or whiting to the glass, to break the fierceness of the summer sun until the plants become established. This shade should not be too heavy, nor intended to darken the house, else a softening and weakening of the growth will result. Lift the plants carefully by means of a spade and leave a ball of soil about the size of the fist on the roots. This ball of soil will greatly assist the plant in reestablishing itself in its new quarters. However, no serious harm will be done should all the soil crumble from the roots without breaking the roots to any considerable extent. Set the plants just about as deep into the soil as they stood in the field and space them about 9 by 12 inches, if plants are of ordinary size. Larger plants may need more, smaller plants less space. It should be borne in mind that the highest quality may be expected only when the plants are not crowded. After setting a few hundred plants, water each plant individually, saturating the soil thoroughly around each plant, but do not soak the whole bed until the roots become active and the surface of the soil has been worked over and leveled off, which will be about ten days after planting. Spray the plants overhead several times during each day to prevent wilting. Keeping the walks wet will also help to maintain a humid atmosphere until the roots are able to supply the plants with moisture. This transplanting is an ordeal during which the plants are unable to draw on the roots for support until they have taken a new hold on the soil, and wilting must be prevented by artificial means during this time. To allow severe wilting means loss of foliage and a loss of vitality, which results in inferior quality in at least the early part of the season.

As soon as the soil has been leveled off, and most of the weeds gotten rid of, the supports should be put in place. Large growers use one of two styles of supports, or a combination of the two. Wires run lengthwise between the rows, with cotton strings crosswise, placing two or three tiers one above the other to suit the height of the plants is extensively used. Another device is the carnation support, consisting of a wire stake with wire rings to surround each plant.

Yield of bloom:— Plants that were benched in the latter part of July, or early August, which is the time to plant for best results, should begin to yield blooms early in September. If flowers are not desired so early, the stems may be broken off about the time the bud appears, but no general topping should be done after the plants are housed, if a steady cut through the season is desired. Cut the blooms during the early part of the day. They are then fresh and retain their natural colors, much of which would be bleached out of the delicately colored sorts by the sun during a warm day. Place in water at once in a cool room as near 50° as possible. Sort the blooms in separate colors, making two or three grades of quality, tying them into bunches of twenty-five blooms. Cut the stems even at the bottom and replace in water. Avoid crowding the blooms while they are soaking up water, as they will increase 25 per cent in size during the first twenty-four hours in water.

During a season, running from September to the end of the following June, an average cut of twenty blooms per plant may be expected from most varieties. Varieties differ somewhat, according to the size of the blooms, the smaller-flowered sorts usually being the freer bloomers.The preparation of the soil for growing carnations is of the greatest importance. Choose a piece of land which has not been tilled for some years, if possible. If covered with a heavy sod, all the better. The soil should be a loam of good substance, with an inclination toward sandiness. Break this sod in the fall and leave in a rough state during the winter. In the spring plow again and sow to cowpeas or some other leguminous crop. After plowing this under in the fall, manure heavily and leave until the following spring when it should be plowed again. This soil should be in first-class condition for use the following summer. In working or handling soil, always bear in mind that to handle it while it is wet is to ruin it for immediate use. Only freezing will restore it again. If it will crumble readily, it is safe toss handle. Soil which has been prepared in this manner will be rich enough to carry the plants until after the first of the year, when light feeding may be given. Feeding should be done judiciously during the short days of winter, to avoid softening the growth and bloom. Pulverized sheep- manure, dried blood and wood- ashes are used mostly for this purpose. The manure and blood improve the size and quality of the bloom, and the ashes strengthen the stem.

Ventilation and temperature. — The carnation being a cool-temperature plant, abundant fresh air and ventilation should be provided for. A steady temperature is essential to success in growing carnations. Splitting of the calyx may usually be traced to either irregular temperature or to overdoses of feeding. Any point between 48° and 52° will prove a satisfactory night temperature for most varieties, providing it is evenly maintained. The temperature should be 10° higher during the day. Care should also be exercised, when building, in placing the ventilators, so that the atmosphere in the house may be changed without causing cold drafts to strike the plants. By placing the ventilators alternately on both sides of the ridge, this may be accomplished. The side ventilators are used only during mild weather.

The modern type of carnation house runs east and west, is of even span and is 30 feet or more in width, having ventilators on both sides of the ridge and in the side walls, if houses are detached. Many ranges are connected by gutters 6 feet or more from the ground. When economy in ground is necessary, this is a good plan, but such ranges always contain some benches inferior for growing stock on account of the shade cast by gutters.Post harvest Treatment: Citric acid is added to water to make the pH 4.5 to 5 and 5 mg of Sodium hypochloride is added to 1 litre of water. Cut flower stalk is soaked in this solution for 4 - 5 hours to improve vase life.

Grading: Based on stem thickness, stem length and quality of flower grading is done as A, B, C,D

Yield: 8 Stalks/plant/year.   


Gladiolus  spp;  Iridaceae

Gladiolus (from Latin, the diminutive of gladius, a sword) is a genus of perennial bulbous flowering plants in the iris family (Iridaceae). Sometimes called the sword lily, the most widely-used English common name for these plants is simply gladiolus (plural gladioli, gladioluses or sometimes gladiolas).

The genus is distributed in Mediterranean Europe, Asia, Tropical Africa and South Africa. However, the center of diversity of the genus is located in the Cape Floristic Region, where most species were discovered. As a matter of fact, 163 out of the 250 species of Gladiolus are from Southern Africa.The genera Oenostachys, Homoglossum, Anomalesia and Acidanthera, traditionally considered independent entities, currently are included in Gladiolus.

The genus Gladiolus contains about 260 species, of which 250 are native to sub-Saharan Africa, mostly South Africa. About 10 species are native to Eurasia. There are 160 species of Gladiolus endemic in southern Africa and 76 in tropical Africa. The species vary from very small to the spectacular giant flower spikes in commerce.

These attractive, perennial herbs are semihardy in temperate climates. They grow from rounded, symmetrical corms, that are enveloped in several layers of brownish, fibrous tunics.

Their stems are generally unbranched, producing 1 to 9 narrow, sword-shaped, longitudinal grooved leaves, enclosed in a sheath. The lowest leaf is shortened to a cataphyll. The leaf blades can be plane or cruciform in cross section.

The fragrant flower spikes are large and one-sided, with secund, bisexual flowers, each subtended by 2 leathery, green bracts. The sepals and the petals are almost identical in appearance, and are termed tepals. They are united at their base into a tube-shaped structure. The dorsal tepal is the largest, arching over the three stamens. The outer three tepals are narrower. The perianth is funnel-shaped, with the stamens attached to its base. The style has three filiform, spoon-shaped branches, each expanding towards the apex.

The ovary is 3-locular with oblong or globose capsules, containing many, winged brown, longitudinally dehiscent seeds. In their center must be noticeable the specific pellet like structure which is the real seed without the fine coat. In some seeds this structure is wrinkled and with black color. These seeds are unable to germinate.

These flowers are variously colored, pink to reddish or light purple with white, contrasting markings, or white to cream or orange to red.The South African species were originally pollinated by long-tongued anthrophorine bees, but some changes in the pollination system have occurred, allowing pollination by sunbirds, noctuid and sphingid moths, long-tongued flies and several others. In the temperate zones of Europe many of the hybrid large flowering sorts of gladiolas can be pollinated by small well-known wasps. Actually, They are not very good pollinators because of the large flowers of the plants and the small size of the wasps. Another insect in this zone which can try some of the nectar of the gladioli is the best-known European Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum which usually pollinates many famous garden flowers like Petunia, Zinnia, Dianthus and others.

Gladioli are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the Large Yellow Underwing.

Gladioli have been extensively hybridized and a wide range of ornamental flower colours are available from the many varieties. The main hybrid groups have been obtained by crossing between four or five species, followed by selection: Grandiflorus, Primulines and Nanus. They make very good cut flowers. However, due to their height, the cultivated forms frequently tend to fall over in the wind if left on the plant.

  Types of Gladiolus

Gladiolus are found in a variety of types that include both the species and hybrid glads. The different types of species represent the geographic and ecological range of the many species in this genus. The different combinations of species used to create the different hybrids has led to the establishment of several different types of hybrids as well.

  Winter Blooming Species and Hybrids

The Cape region of South Africa is home to over 100 different species of Gladiolus. Most of the Cape species grow and bloom in the winter, which in this region of South Africa is mild, and similar to that of Southern California. Many of the species are reasonably hardy and will tolerate some frost. Unlike the more familiar grandiflora hybrids, these species are small plants, typically they produce one or just a few slender leaves before flowering. The flowers are small and bourne on slender stalks. Many of the species, such as Gladiolus tristis, pictured on the right, are strongly fragrant. Hybridizers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries produced many hybrids with these species. Virtually all gladiolus species are diploids with 30 chromosomes and are interfertile. Most of these hybrids are long gone, however more recent hybrids have been produced including the so-called Homoglads; a cross between Homoglossum watsonius (recently reclassified as Gladiolus watsonius) and Gladiolus tristis. Based on descriptions of some of these older hybrids, there is great potential for producing useful garden plants from these species.

Gladiolus caeruleus -A graceful, fairly vigourous plant growing to about 18" high when in bloom. Blooms forbin late January to early February (1/23/99, 2/3/00, & 1/25/01). Spikes have 6-8 buds and have two bell shaped light blue flowers in bloom at a time. The lower petals are cream colored and marked with many dark blue-violet spots, somewhat like an Alstromeria. The flower spike bends so that the flowers face down, probably as an adaptation to keep the pollen dry during wet periods. Each 1" diameter flower can last 4-5 days and has no scent. The plants are self-incompatible, but readily cross with other species (and presumably other plants of the same species). The plants will tolerate temperatures down to at least 27 F, but the flowers and buds can be damaged by below freezing temps. It likes plenty of moisture during the growing season. This species is one of the easiest to grow and flower, at least in my experience. It likes to be wet, but can tolerate drier conditions without triggering premature dormancy, and is not prone to rot if watered before it breaks dormancy in the fall. It also flowers from small bulbs and setting seed does not strain the plant too much, which happens with some other species

Gladiolus carneus- A large flowered, late blooming species. The single spike had three buds with large light lavender pink florets. Each lightly ruffled floret had three prominent red-pink darts on the lip petals. The flowers had little or no fragrance. Set seed when pollinated with G. tristis.

Gladiolus huttonii- This species produces a single slender leaf from which a graceful spike emerges. The spike had 4 buds and had all four flowers open at once. The species has no detectable fragrance. Set seed abundantly when pollinated by G. tristis. Bloomed 3/8/00.

Gladiolus priorii- A very early blooming, almost leafless species. If it is going to bloom, it produces a sheath and flower stalk right from the start of growth. If not, it will produce long flat leaves. Has bloomed twice for me on 12/22/98 and 12/24/00, with no bloom in the 1999-2000 season. In 1998, the spike had two buds, both long lasting (9 days) bright red florets were in bloom at once. In 2000, the spike had 4 buds and all four flowers opened in two days, each flower again lasted 9 days. The flowers have no scent, are somewhat spidery in form and have no fragrance. The plant did produce a few seeds from self-pollination.  

 Summer Blooming Species

In addition to the concentration of winter blooming species in the Cape region, many more species are found in the inland areas of South Africa and tropical Africa. Several species are even native to Europe. One of these summer-blooming African species, Gladiolus dalenii, is chiefly responsible for the production of the summer blooming hybrids. G. dalenii occurs over a large region in Southern Africa and has many distinct geographic forms, which in the past were given many different species names, including G. primulinus, a form that was very important in the production of miniature Gladiolus hybrids. Several other summer blooming species also figure in the development of the modern hybrids, including G. cruentus, G. oppositiflorus, G. papilio and G. saundersii. Many other species were grown at the time the early hybrids that lead to modern Gladiolus hybrids, but it is not clear what other species contributed to the modern germplasm. The genes of G. papilio are clearly present in modern glads as evidence by the blotched varieties. Either or both G. cruentes and G. saundersii contributed the red color found in many modern cultivars. For the most part these species are not readily available. However, several of the European species can be found in bulb catalogs. One species, Gladiolus muriale (formerly Acidanthera bicolor var Muriale) is commonly found in catalogs and garden centers, often under the name "peacock lily". G. muriale, which is pictured at left, is strongly scented and blooms very late in the summer, often just before frost in Northern areas. It has been used to develop several hybrids with modern Gladiolus, the best known is 'Lucky Star'. Unfortunately the fragrance in the hybrids is not as strong as in the species, and is readily lost in further crosses to the grandiflora type hybrids, and in fact 'Lucky Star' was the only fragrant seedling produced from a large number of crosses made by Mrs. Joan Wright in the 1950's between G. muriale and modern hybrids

  Nanus hybrids

The nanus group of hybrids is commonly found in catalogs and garden centers labeled as "Butterfly Glads" or "Winter-hardy Glads". Both of these names fit this group well. For a group of hybrids derived from African species, they are surprisingly hardy (to USDA zone 4 when overwintered in the ground and can also be treated like the Grandiflora hybrids and dug each fall and replanted in the spring). Many of the hybrids found today were bred at the turn of the century, which is a testament to the disease resistance of this group. Although the exact parentage of these hybrids is mostly lost, we know that they are the result of crossing the summer and winter blooming species together. In fact, virtually all of them are actually first generation hybrids. We know this because they are sterile, with three sets of chromosomes (triploid) instead of the normal two sets (diploid) or the four sets found in the modern Grandiflora hybrids. Because odd sets of chromosomes cannot pair during the first division of meiosis, normal gamets cannot be formed. However, in gladiolus hybrids, it has been found that triploids do produce some gamets and that these typically have either 15, 30 or 45 chromosomes. These viable gametes typically form in the ovaries and thus the plants are pollen sterile. If the triploid plants are pollinated by pollen from a diploid (15n) or tetraploid (30n), some of the resulting seeds will be fertile tetraploids (2n=60). The fact that most nanus glads are triploids indicates that they derive from crosses with G. dalenii, a Summer blooming species with four sets of chromosomes (tetraploid), and some of the many Winter blooming, diploid species.

The nanus glads display a variety of colors and patterns, but most have conspicuous darts of color on the upper petals. This is in contrast to the blotch pattern in the modern Summer blooming glad hybrids, which is on the lower petals. However, this pattern of darts is very similar to that seen in G. carneus. The nanus glads come in white, pink, salmon and some varieties are nearly red. They have graceful spikes with fewer than 12 buds. Because of their grace and hardiness they are useful garden subjects, and are grown as cutfloers in Europe. Recently, breeders in Israel have produced a new series of hybrids by crossing modern Summer flowering hybrids with the Winter blooming species G. tristis. These have been produced for the cutflower trade and should be similar in growth habit and bloom season to the nanus cultivars.

 Modern Summer blooming hybrids

The modern Summer blooming hybrids are very different from the species glads. The modern hybrids or "Grandiflora" hybrids are much larger, both in terms of flower size and thesize of the flower spike. Some modern hybrids can have up to 40 flower buds and can hold ten or more 5 1/2" wide flowers open at once. Hydrids such as Alpine Sunset (shown on the right) have been bred for exhibition at the many gladiolus shows around the country. Many other hybrids have been bred for commericial trade. While typically not capable of producing the individual spikes that the exhibition varieties can, the commercial varieties can be cut in tight bud and open days later in water. These spikes can bloom for more than a week with proper treatment. The ease of handling and the brilliant colors make gladioli one of the premier cutflowers.

In addition to the larger size, modern hybrid glads have flowers in colors and forms not found in the species. Most modern glads have at least some ruffling of the petals and some varieties are so heavily ruffled and textured that they almost appear to be carved from wax. The hybrid glads can be found in virtually all colors from pure white to nearly jet black. Pink and salmon colored varieties are perhaps the most common, but rich reds, golden yellows, purples and browns are also found among the modern cultivars. Even green, blue and violet glads exist. Although these three colors are not "true" colors in glads, modern hybridizers have come a long way towards producing glads that really look green and blue. Part of the reason for the many colors and forms that modern glads take is in the number and kinds of species used to create them.

Although the vast majority of Gladiolus species are diploids with 30 chromosomes, the Grandiflora hybrids are all tetraploids with 60 chromosomes. The tetraploid nature of modern garden glads traces to the prominence of G. dalenii in the parentage of the modern hybrids. Unlike most other species, G. dalenii is a tetraploid with 60 chromosomes. G. dalenii occurs in a large number of different forms, and has a wide natural range. It is found in the interior of South Africa, and ranges north to central Africa. Because of its wide range and variability its many forms were originally described as separate species (G. psittacinus, G. dracocephalus, and G. natalensis from South Africa; G. primulinus and G.quartinianus from Tropical East Africa). Crosses between the diploid summer and winter blooming species and forms of G. dalenii resulted in many different hybrids. Although most of these hybrids were triploids and thus mostly sterile, in gladioli, triploids produce unreduced gametes at a high frequency. Because of this property, pollination of the triploids by diploid species results in a reasonable frequency of fertile tetraploid offspring. By this route, hybridizers at the turn of the century incorporated several other summer and winter blooming species, (including G. cardinalis, G. cruentes, G. oppositiflorus, G. papilio, and G. saundersii) leading to the creation of the modern Grandiflora hybrids.

Virtually all of these species were incorporated into the germplasm by the 1920's and virtually all of the improvement since that time has been produced by intercrossing hybrid varieties. In the 1940's, 50's and 60's gladioli reached the height of their diversity. Semi-double and fully double forms were bred along with lacinated forms and varieties with huge florets. Most of these varieties are now gone, however, the germplasm of today's gladioli certainly contains the capacity to reproduce these forms.

Even though today's varieties are not as diverse in form, hybridizers have greatly improved the degree of ruffling of the flowers and have continued to improve the number of buds produced per spike. Although many of the novelties of the past have disappeared, new variants such as the variety "Candy Cane" pictured here have been developed recently. Fragrant summer hybrids have been the subject of several modern hybridizer's efforts, but a strongly fragrant summer flowered hybrid with remains elusive.

The latest hybrids are unsurpassed in ruffling and color. In addition, the smaller flowered varieties have been highly developed, to the point that they rival the larger flowered varieties in form and style. Although most gladiolus varieties face forward, upward facing varieties, face-ups, have been developed. These varieties have long been known, but they have achieved something of a revival recently with ruffled varieties in new colors.


In temperate zones, the corms of most species and hybrids should be lifted in autumn and stored over winter in a frost-free place, then replanted in spring. Some species from Europe and high altitudes in Africa, as well as the small 'Nanus' hybrids, are much hardier (to at least -15°F/-26°C) and can be left in the ground in regions with sufficiently dry winters. Plants are propagated either from small cormlets produced as offsets by the parent corms, or from seed; in either case, they take several years to get to flowering size.

Varieties available in India : Pusa Gunjan, Pusa Bindiya, Pusa Subhangini, Nazrana, Punjab Morning, Punjab,Dawn, Kumkum, Chaubattia Arunima, Chaubatita Ankur.

  Soil and Climate:

Gladiolus can be grown on all well-draining soil types, preferred being sandy loam. Soil pH should be between 6 and 6.5. Poorly draining soil can be corrected by adding sawdust, compost and peat moss or by raising the beds

Season: This crop requires minimum 10 hours of sunlight to over come blindness. So season should be adjusted or light substitution is given.

 Planting Gladiolus

Dig holes 4" - 6'' deep for large corms, 3" - 4'' deep for medium-sized ones, and 2" - 3'' deep for small ones. Trench planting, maintaining a distance of 2" - 3" between each corm, and 20'' - 36'' between rows is recommended. Weeding can be reduced to a minimum by mulching. Pest attack by grasshoppers, thrips, cucumber beetles and aphids can be controlled with help from local county pest control agents.

Bed system: Beds for gladiolus cultivation is prepared in Ridges and furrows.

Irrigation: Gladiolus need heavy watering throughout their growth period and flowering time especially in a dry season Open field 7-8 days interval. Poly house - Drip irrigation 2-3 days interval.

  Fertilizer and manure application

Application of fertilizer leads to the formation of healthy and large sized corms, which give large-sized flowers on long spikes during the succeeding year. FYM should only be applied for a preceding crop and never before planting gladioli. Application of fertilizer use should be based on soil analysis.

Normally 120 kg N, 150kg P O and 150 Kg K O per hectare is recommended, of which 60 kg N and 2 5 2 entire dose of P O and K O is applied as basal dose. The balance N is given in two split doses, one as 2 5 2 foliar spray at four leaf stage while the second as soil application at the bud stage. Application of growth regulators mainly GA , IAA and NAA as soil drench has beneficial effects on the 3 growth and flowering of plants and induces early flowering.

Plant Protection: Corms are dipped in hot water at 40 - 450C + fungicide (captan or thiram 2 g/lit) to control Nematode and fungal disease.

Thrips Methyl demeton 25 EC 2 ml/lit. or dimethoate 30 EC @ 2ml/lit. Semilooper and Helicoverpa methyl demeton or monocrotophos @ 2 ml/lit.

Leaf spot

Spray Carbendazim or Mancozeb 2 g/lit. Season of flowering and Harvesting.

When first bud shows the colour of the variety harvesting is started.

Post harvest treatment and Grading: Soaking stem in water to avoid wilting and lodging of stem and flower.  Based on stem length and number of florets grouped into A, B, C, D grades.

Yield: Only 85% of stalks produced will give flowers and remaining 15% will become blind, so  2.0 to 2.5 lakhs stalks/ha can be harvested per crop.


Tulip is a perennial plant in the genus Tulipa, comprising about 150 bulbous species with showy flowers, in the family Liliaceae. The species native range includes southern Europe, North Africa, and Asia from Anatolia and Iran in the west to northeast of China. The centre of diversity of the genus is in the Pamir and Hindu Kush mountains and the steppes of Kazakhstan. A number of species and many hybrid cultivars are grown in gardens, used as pot plants or as fresh cut flowers. Most cultivars of tulip are derived from Tulipa gesneriana.

  Botanical Description

The species are perennials from bulbs, the tunicate bulbs often produced on the ends of stolons and covered with hairless to variously hairy papery coverings. The species include short low-growing plants to tall upright plants, growing from 10 to 70 centimeters (4–27 in) tall. They can even grow in the cold and snowy winter. Plants typically have 2 to 6 leaves, with some species having up to 12 leaves. The cauline foliage is strap-shaped, waxy-coated, usually light to medium green and alternately arranged. The blades are somewhat fleshy and linear to oblong in shape. The large flowers are produced on scapes or subscapose stems normally lacking bracts. The stems have no leaves to a few leaves, with large species having some leaves and smaller species have none. Typically species have one flower per stem but a few species have up to four flowers. The colourful and attractive cup shaped flowers typically have three petals and three sepals, which are most often termed tepals because they are nearly identical. The six petaloid tepals are often marked near the bases with darker markings. The flowers have six basifixed, distinct stamens with filaments shorter than the tepals and the stigmas are districtly 3-lobed. The ovaries are superior with three chambers. The 3 angled fruits are leathery textured capsules, ellipsoid to subglobose in shape, containing numerous flat disc-shaped seeds in two rows per locule. The flat, light to dark brown seeds are arranged in two rows per chamber and have very thin seed coats and endosperm that does not normally fill the entire seed coat. 

 Origin of the name

Although tulips are associated with Holland, commercial cultivation of the flower began in the Ottoman Empire. The tulip, or lale (from Persian لاله, lâleh) as it is also called in Iran and Turkey, is a flower indigenous to a vast area encompassing parts of Africa, Asia, and Europe. The word tulip, which earlier in English appeared in such forms as tulipa or tulipant, entered the language by way of French tulipe and its obsolete form tulipan or by way of Modern Latin tulīpa, from Ottoman Turkish tülbend ("muslin" or "gauze"), and is ultimately derived from the Persian language dulband ("turban"). (The English word turban, first recorded in English in the 16th century, is a cognate.)


Tulips are indigenous to mountainous areas with temperate climates and need a period of cool dormancy. They do best in climates with long cool springs and early summers, but are often grown as spring blooming annual plantings in warmer areas of the world. The bulbs are typically planted in late summer and fall, normally from 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 in.) deep, depending on the type planted, in well-drained soils. In parts of the world that do not have long cool springs and early summers, the bulbs are often planted up to 12 inches deep; this provides some protection from the heat of summer and tends to force the plants to regenerate one large bulb each year instead of many smaller non-blooming ones. This can extend the usefulness of the plants in warmer areas a few years but not stave off the degradation in bulb size and eventual death of the plants.


Tulips can be propagated through offsets, seeds or micropropagation. Offsets and Tissue Culture methods are means of asexual propagation, they are used to produce genetic clones of the parent plant, which maintains cultivar integrity. Seed raised plants show greater variation, and seeds are most often used to propagate species and subspecies or are used for the creation of new hybrids. Many tulip species can cross pollinate with each other; when wild tulip populations overlap with other species or subspecies, they often hybridize and have populations of mixed plants. Most tulip cultivars are complex hybrids and sterile; those plants that do produce seeds most often have offspring dissimilar to the parents.

Tulip growers using offsets to produce salable plants need a year or more of growth before plants are large enough to flower; tulips grown from seeds often need five to eight years of growth before plants are flowering size. Commercial growers harvest the bulbs in late summer and grade them into sizes; bulbs large enough to flower are sorted and sold, while smaller bulbs are sorted into sizes and replanted. Holland is the main producer of commercially sold plants, producing as many as 3 billion bulbs annually.


In horticulture, tulips are divided up into fifteen groups (Divisions) mostly based on flower morphology and plant size.

  Div. 1: Single early - with cup-shaped single flowers, no larger than 8cm across (3 inches). They bloom early to mid season. Growing 15 to 45cm tall.

 Div. 2: Double early - with fully double flowers, bowl shaped to 8cm across. Plants typically grow from 30-40cm tall.

  Div. 3: Triumph - single, cup shaped flowers up to 6cm wide. Plants grow 35-60cm tall and bloom mid to late season.

   Div. 4: Darwin hybrid - single flowers are ovoid in shape and up to 8cm wide. Plants grow 50-70cm tall and bloom mid to late season. This group should not be confused with older Darwin tulips, which belong in the Single Late Group below.

Div. 5: Single late - cup or goblet-shaded flowers up to 8cm wide, some plants produce multi-flowering stems. Plants grow 45-75cm tall and bloom late season.

·            Div. 6: Lilly-flowered
·            Div. 7: Fringed (Crispa)
·            Div. 8: Viridiflora
·            Div. 9: Rembrandt
·            Div. 10: Parrot
·            Div. 11: Double late
·            Div. 12: Kaufmanniana
·            Div. 13: Fosteriana (Emperor)
·            Div. 14: Griegii
·            Div. 15: Species (Botanical)
·            Div. 16: Multiflowering - not an official division, these tulips belong in the first 15 divisions but are often listed separately because they have multiple blooms per bulb.

Early flowering

They may also be classified by their flowering season: 

Single Early Tulips

Double Early Tulips

Greigii Tulips

Kaufmanniana Tulips

Fosteriana Tulips

Tulips species

 Mid-season flowering

Darwin Hybrid Tulips

Triumph Tulips

Parrot Tulips

Late season flowering

Single Late Tulips

Double Late Tulips

Viridiflora Tulips

Lily-flowering Tulips

Fringed Tulips

Rembrandt Tulips


Botrytis tulipae is a major fungal disease affecting tulips, causing cell death leading to rotten plants.Other pathogens include Anthracnose, bacterial soft rot, blight caused by Sclerotium rolfsii, bulb nematodes, other rots including blue molds, black molds and mushy rot.

Historically variegated varieties admired during the Dutch tulipomania gained their delicately feathered patterns from an infection with Tulip Breaking potyvirus, the mosaic virus that was carried by the green peach aphids, Myzus persicae. Persicae were common in European gardens of the seventeenth century. While the virus produces fantastically colourful flowers, it also caused weakened plants that died slowly. Today the virus is almost eradicated from tulip growers' fields. Those Tulips affected by mosaic virus are called "Broken tulips"; they will occasionally revert to a plain or solid colouring, but still remain infected with the virus.

Some historical cultivars have had a striped, "feathered", "flamed", or variegated flower. While some modern varieties also display multicoloured patterns, this results from a natural change in the upper and lower layers of pigment in the tulip flower.

The Black Tulip is the title of a historical romance by Alexandre Dumas, père (1850), in which the city of Haarlem has a reward for the first grower who can produce a truly black tulip.

Propagation seeds

Tulips are propagated by seeds is extremely rare, but nevertheless it's possible. This method is rarely used because of the duration, as flowering occurs on the strength of the sixth year.

Tulip Seeds are sown in September in a loose, not manure the land, and on top of 2 cm closed black earth mixed with sand. They need to sow at a distance of 10-15 cm from each other. In early spring the seeds germinate. No special care other than weeding is required. Fall in beds is put another layer of good earth. In the spring again, add the ground at 2 cm choose a leather jeweler box.  Thus, by the end of the second year of the small bulbs are formed at 6 cm covered the ground. In the third year, in autumn, when the bulbs gain the strength, after leaf yellowing and they dig a little dry, but not in the sun and not in the draft. By the end of September, bulbs are planted at a depth of 8 cm and at the same distance from one another. In the next two years transplanted bulbs and only the sixth year of receiving flowers.

Site Selection : Select a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. Tall varieties should be sheltered from strong winds.  

Planting Instructions

Planting tulip bulbs in fall, 6 to 8 weeks before a hard frost is expected and when soils are below 60 degrees F. This is usually during September and October in the North, and October and November in the South. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole about 3 times as deep as the height of the bulb. Set the bulb in the hole, pointy end up, then cover with soil and press firmly. Space between bulbs should be 4 to 6 inches. Irrigate thoroughly after planting. If hungry voles or mice are a problem, plant bulbs in buried wire cages to protect them from getting eaten.


Keep tulips watered during dry spells in the fall. After plants are finished flowering in spring, cut back flower stalks but allow the leaves to die back naturally, hiding the unsightly foliage with annual or perennial plantings. An annual application of compost should provide adequate nutrients. Large varieties may need replanting every few years; small types usually multiply and spread on their own.

   Container Gardening:

When growing your tulips in containers, avoid placing the container in direct sunshine. The soil needs to remain cool so the bulb doesn't prematurely receive signals that spring has arrived. If the sun warms the soil in the container too early, the bulb will send up shoot and flower before an adequate root system has developed. Keeping the soil cool for as long as possible will encourage the strongest and most expansive root system possible.

  For long-lasting tulip arrangements

Cut the stems diagonally. Wrap the entire flower (head and stem) tightly in newspaper. Place stem in water overnight. Remove the paper and recut the stems. Transfer the Tulips to a vase with fresh water and plant food. Add water as needed and keep out of direct sun and drafts. Enjoy blooms for 7-10 days. 

Lifting  Tulips:

You may choose to lift (meaning to take out of the ground and store for next year) your tulips after the foliage has ripened (died down). This is not necessary with hardy perennial varieties. If you lift, store the bulbs in a dry place during the summer and replant them next fall in fresh soil – this will reduce the risk of disease. Each year before replanting, inspect your bulbs for bruises or cuts that may allow diseases to enter and then spread to other bulbs. This is essential since an infection of the incurable disease ‘Fire’ (Boyrytis) will require you to burn all your tulipsWe usually think of tulips as a flower that comes from Holland and yes, that is true, thousands...if not millions, of tulip bulbs are exported from the Netherlands around the world every year. But the botanical name of this popular spring flower is derived from the Persian word, toliban, turban, which the inverted flower was supposed to resemble. It belongs to the Lily Family and grows wild over a great territory from Asia Minor through Siberia to China. Ever since tulip bulbs were first exported from the cool regions of Turkey and the Himalayas, gardeners have struggled to make them perform each spring without fail.

How to Harvest Tulip Bulbs For Next Season Planting

Tulip flowers are perennial and with around 150 different species and a variety of colours they will form an attractive addition to any garden. Tulip bulbs can be harvested every year; this means that new growth can be created for the following season. Harvesting and planting tulip bulbs is a manageable task which can be easily mastered by a novice gardener.

Step 1 – Season

The best time to harvest tulip bulbs is during the late summer months or early fall. This will allow for the tulips to bloom fully and for its foliage to start to yellow and die slightly, by allowing this bloom process the tulip will acquire vital nutrients that are needed for next seasons planting. Remove any dead or weak foliage growth from the tulip plant before extracting its bulbs, this will ensure that original tulip remains strong and healthy.s

Step 2 – Extracting

Use a hand trowel to dig down into the soil around the tulip plant. The trench will need to be at least 3 inches wider than the tulip plant and be between 6-8 inches deep in order to expose the tulip bulbs. Extract the bulbs and then carefully brush off any excess dirt with a dry cloth. Remove any dead foliage above the bulb crown and then set them aside.

Step 3 – Storage

Prepare a storage bed for the tulip bulbs, as this will keep them separated and support them until they can be planted the following fall. Fill a large plastic container or a shallow box with sand or peat moss. Gently push the tulip bulbs three quarters of the way into the matter ensuring that they are not touching each other. Place the filled storage bed in an area that receives little or no sunlight and has an average temperature of between 60 – 66 degrees Fahrenheit. The filled storage bed can be placed in a refrigerator or in a covered space outdoors to maintain the low temperature.

Step 4 – Maintenance

The tulip bulbs will need to checked and maintained at regular intervals during their time in the storage bed. Remove any diseased or rotten bulbs and scoop out and discard the sand matter that they grew in. This will help to reduce the likelihood of any disease spreading and cut down on rot considerably.

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