Growing Tulips in Texas

Not sure why I love tulips, but I do.  And, I am not alone.  I saw a survey the other day that said tulips were second only to roses as the most loved and most recognized flower in the world.  No matter how much I love them though, they always break my heart.  My relationship with them is like a bad romance.  Each fall, they promise to do right by me.  I take them back into my home (again), kick the moldy vegetables out of the crisper for them, wrap them in the breathable bags they love and then keep them cool and dark for the next five months.  Come February I place them is the richest, loosest soil I can find.  I buy them lovely accessories and plant companions for them so they won’t be lonely.  Then, come March, they break my heart (again) by blooming on squat little stalks with spindly petals that never last. 

Texas_Tulip_1This fall, Sally and I bought a cute little antique wheelbarrow at an auction.  Despite my experience I thought, “Won’t that look great full of tulips?”  So, with the wheelbarrow still in the back of the truck, I went to my local nursery and bought another bag of tulip bulbs.  I took the wheelbarrow home and drilled my drain holes.  In January, I filled the wheelbarrow with potting soil and planted 24 alyssum plants around the rim.  Then, I took the tulips out of the refrigerator and prayed.

Texas_Tulip_2I am very happy to report, this year the tulips finally did right by me!  Their stalks are tall and jaunty.  The flowers are an amazingly beautiful pink.  For the past week it has been a true joy to come home and have these lovely ladies waiting for me at the back door.

Texas_Tulip_3While I am so proud of my tulips this year, the Lord made sure I did not get too prideful or boastful.  Two weeks ago he sent a massive, late season ice storm that killed all of the alyssum that I had planted to enhance my lady’s beauty.  I guess this is appropriate as it is Lent.  We would not want me to become too prideful during this season of preparation.

Texas_Tulip_4If you are not afraid of a broken heart, my experience has shown me that you can grow tulips in Texas.  Buy them early in the fall and keep them refrigerated for months.  Then plant them in early February in deep, rich soil.  Keep the soil moist and pray for a cool spring.

6 thoughts on “Growing Tulips in Texas

    • I am an amateur gardener. Watching pros like your mom grow beautiful flowers is what has inspired me to keep trying. Thanks for sharing your story.

      • Gosh, thanks Jay. She passed away 11 years ago (it will be) on holy Saturday, just before Easter. Always had lots of beautiful flowers in the greenhouse for people to come and pick up at this coming up time of year. The local churches loved ’em…. You made me smile and tear up all at the same time remembering this important time of the season. Peace be with you friend!

  1. So beautiful! They make a stunning display. The cold winter was great for bulbs, however it was too bad we got that late cold snap. I guess you never know;) Unfortunately, I don’t have the patience for regular tulips, however I’ve heard of a variety called “Lady Jane” that I might try. They are suppose to come back every year.

    • Thanks! I have not heard of “Lady Jane”. I will have to look that up. There is a “native” tulip that is sold by Southern Bulb Company that comes back year after year. Unfortunately it only grows in hard, black gumbo and thrives on neglect. While lovely, it is not a good choice for potted arrangements.

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