Harvest seeds at the right time - that's how it works
You can only grow tulips from seeds if you ignore a central aspect in the maintenance program. In order to harvest the seeds, the withered flowers must not be cut off. Only under this condition do the hoped-for seed pods develop from pollinated flowers. For this ripening process, Tulipa usually take 8 to 10 weeks. How to properly harvest tulip seeds for sowing:
- Harvest-ready seed pods are completely dried and brown in color
- Carefully cut off the seed heads or break them off with two fingers
- Grind the capsules between your hands over a bowl
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Then use a sieve to separate the seeds from the remains of the capsule. If necessary, sift through the seeds several times.
Stratify first - then sow - this is how you do it right
So that tulip seeds do not germinate prematurely, Mother Nature has equipped them with a sprout inhibitor. A cold period of several weeks is required before sowing in order to motivate the seeds to germinate. You can implement the process known as stratification in technical jargon in this way:
- Sow the fresh seeds in a clay pot on a mix of potting soil and sand and water
- Sieve thinly with sand and cover with a layer of small pebbles or aquarium gravel
- Set up in the partially shaded place in the garden for 4 to 6 weeks
After 2 months at the latest, life starts to stir in the tulip seeds. Long green seedlings will sprout as spring progresses. Keep the seeds slightly moist during this time. Only when the shoots wither and fall off, the longed-for tulip bulbs have developed at their ends. Get the tiny ones out of the ground to plant them in a pot of lean potting soil.
In a mild winter, put it in the refrigerator
If winter comes with consistently mild weather, tulip seeds in the garden do not experience the necessary cold stimulus. Now you can convert the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator into a simulation room for winter weather. Put the seeds in a plastic bag with damp sand or sphagnum. Tightly closed, deposit the seeds for 4 to 6 weeks at temperatures between - 4 and + 4 degrees Celsius. Only then do you sow the stratified seeds in pots with potting soil.
You will look in vain for tulip seeds in specialist shops. The reason for this is that the sowing of dried seeds is doomed to failure. You will only grow magnificent tulips from seeds if you use fresh, hand-picked seeds that you sow in a timely manner.