PLEASE NOTE DELIVERY FROM EARLY JUNE
I find it difficult to think about tulips in scientific terms. How can one possibly associate something as spectacularly beautiful as a tulip with objective terms like ‘cold treatment’ or ‘forcing’? I think instead of the spring time parklands of Europe covered for miles and miles in vivid colours, like brilliant rainbows spilt on the ground.
If you order tulip bulbs now from Hadeco, you can plant your own tiny rainbows come May, right here in South Africa. Isn’t that an appealing proposal?
Spring-flowering bulbs like tulips are very hardy. In fact, they like the cold of winter. As soil temperatures cool, the bulbs begin root growth, which continues until temperatures become very cold. Then, just as temperatures begin to rise, shoot growth begins, followed by flowering. Forcing is simply deliberate manipulation of this cycle.
Commercial growers are able to create artificially the conditions necessary to convince tulip bulbs to flower from mid winter in South Africa. This is an ideal time for blooming as tulips have come to us from much cooler climates and they do not much like the sudden heat a South African spring can produce.
During late summer, a winter environment is simulated in the large cold rooms in which the bulbs are stored. For a full 12 weeks they are kept in storage trays at 5°C after which, in early June, they are released for prompt delivery to eagerly awaiting gardeners. They must be planted straight away as they have no shelf life at all.
Although soil temperatures in June are relatively low, they are still above 5°C so the bulbs are tricked into thinking spring has arrived, and they begin growing. Eight weeks after planting, provided they have been watered correctly, they will burst into flamboyant colour, as if by magic. Not only will flowers last much longer in late July and August than in our warm October weather, but treated bulbs grow more vigorously than the ordinary kind, and they produce larger flowers on much stronger stems. Success is practically assured and bright colour will flood your garden at a time when you most need a lift to your spirits.
If you like, you can pop a few choice bulbs into pots when they arrive. Keep them in the garden in a semi-shaded position until they flower and then choose a light, airy position inside your home and enjoy them indoors as well