Tulip Bulbs – Where Do They Come From?

Q: Where do tulip bulbs come from? Do they grow from seed?

A: Yes, originally they came from seed. To make a superior blossom, growers transfer pollen from flower to flower and wait for a seedpod to form on the stem. The pod contains dozens of seeds, which are planted in a spot that enjoys cool, sunny summers and dry winters. Seedlings grow in the same spot for a couple of summers until they form a bulb large enough to produce a flower. Once flowering finishes, the original bulb forms small bulblets at the base. These are genetically identical to the mother and can be grown similarly until large enough to bloom. These bulbs are harvested, dried, and sold to your retail nursery. You plant the tulip bulbs in fall and enjoy the flowers in spring. Under Atlanta conditions, tulips rarely form offsets that grow into bulbs large enough to flower.

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