Choosing and buying Tulip flower bulbs
Tulip is generally propagated by tunicated bulbs or offsets. Bulbs should be checked for any infection, like discoloration, cuts or bruises or softness. Infected bulbs must be discarded.
Tulip bulbs initiate their flowering when they are properly forced (i.e. satisfy artificially log cold requirement).If unforced bulb is used then plant growth is slow and stem growth is inhibited. The Tulip plant produces flowers on very short stems and no uniform flowering occurs.
A flowering size Tulip bulb has five to seven fleshy scales including the outer tunic. They are attached to the basal plate. Before planting, grading of Tulip bulb is essential to ensure their flowering & flower quality. Large Tulip bulbs produce large flowers whereas small Tulip bulbs sometimes produce only one leaf and no flower. The critical grade of Tulip bulbs to initiate flowers is between 10-12 cm in circumference or above, depending on cultivar.
Tulips are widely grown in temperate climate and bulbs require cold temperature for their successful growth and flowering. Temperature is the most determining factor for flowering. The ideal temperature for growing Tulips is 5-13 degrees centrigrade with optimum range varies between 17-20 degrees centrigrade . Tulip flower initiation is mostly unaffected by light but in hilly areas partial shade improves plant height with longer flower stalk.
Tulips require light, rich, porous & well drained soil with low clay and salt content having a pH between 6.0-7.0. Soil should be free from the stones and clods, which can damage the delicate roots. It should also be uncontaminated with pests or disease.