Why don't my tulips bloom

My tulips only leaf, but don't bloom - that helps

The optimistic optimistic mood in the spring garden is gone when tulips refuse to flower. If, instead, they just sprout leaves, the affected gardeners want to get to the bottom of the problem. A complicating factor is that the causes can have different origins. The spectrum ranges from an unsuitable location to improper planting to neglect in maintenance. With this analysis, we work off the most common triggers with you step by step. This helps when tulips don't want to bloom.


Insufficient warmth

This helps: Glass, mason jar or glass bottle without a bottom

In the bed, your tulips are exposed to the unpredictability of the weather. If spring comes with wet and cold weather, the heralds of spring see no reason to let their precious flowers sprout. Nonetheless, the more undemanding and robust leaves sprout cheerfully. For generations, resourceful gardeners have had the right answer to this cause of the failure of the tulip bloom. Since it is simply too cold for the flowers, they are given their own mini greenhouse to bridge the gap. This is how it works:

  • Put a large glass over the flowerless tulips
  • Alternatively, cover with a bottomless glass bottle
  • Ventilate the hood regularly to protect it against the formation of mold
  • Remove the cover in direct sunlight

A pleasantly warm microclimate is created under the glass protection, which signals to the hesitant tulip bulb that the weather is improving. If the flower stem sprouts with its bud, the glass has done its job.

Nutritional deficiency

This helps: Apply liquid fertilizer

A common assumption is that tulips can do without fertilizer. It is not taken into account that every flowering period represents a tremendous feat of strength for the onion flowers. The nutrient stores in the onion are barely enough to drive the leaves. Your tulips depend on supplies of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus for the colorful flower cups to unfold. With a fast-acting liquid fertilizer for flowering plants, you can get your tulips flowering:

  • Apply liquid fertilizer every 14 days to tulips that do not want to bloom
  • Add a commercially available liquid fertilizer to the irrigation water
  • Alternatively, shower the earth with a mix of nettle and comfrey manure

At the end of the flowering period, please continue the supply of nutrients. Rake in 3 liters of ripe compost and 100 grams of horn shavings per square meter of bed area and pour in more. Continue this care until the leaves are completely dead. Thanks to this care, your tulips will have abundant energy reserves for the growth of leaves and flowers alike in the next season.

Too much moisture

This helps: Water less and protect from continuous rain

If tulip bulbs are exposed to excess moisture, they will sprout their leaves. They keep the sensitive flowers under lock and key. Too frequent watering or continuous rain are therefore among the most common causes for a lack of flowering time. Only water your heralds of spring when the earth has dried well. To test it, stick a finger in the ground. If you feel the first moisture at a depth of 2 to 3 cm, there is a need to water.

If the spring sky opens its locks repeatedly, you can catch the pouring rain with a layer of mulch. Cover the earth with leaves, bark mulch, straw, sticks or breathable fleece. The more water that is kept away from tulip bulbs, the better the chances of delayed flowering. If the weather turns dry again, remove the cover to prevent rot underneath.

Wrong pruning in the previous year

This helps: Cut professionally

Tulip leaves are more than just decorative accessories. The foliage has the important task of replenishing depleted nutrient depots inside tulip bulbs. For this reason, the leaves may only be cut back when they have completely yellowed and died. Until then, any remaining nutrients from the foliage will be transferred to the flower bulb. If you cut off the leaves prematurely in the previous year, this year's bloom will fail due to a lack of energy reserves. Thanks to the foliage, there is at least the option of a beautiful tulip bloom next year.

This is how the plan works:

  • Leafy tulips continue to water and fertilize
  • Continue grooming until all of the leaves have died
  • Cut the foliage close to the ground

With this strategy, the nutrient reserves in the tulip bulbs are replenished. Thus the course is set for a lavish tulip bloom next year.

Tip: Tulip bulbs, leaves, stems and flowers are slightly poisonous. The tuliposides it contains can cause allergies if they come into contact with the skin. Therefore, wear gloves for all planting and maintenance work. Please store the flower bulbs at a sufficient distance from kitchen onions, as unintentional consumption can cause severe symptoms of poisoning.

Planted too deep

This helps: Dig up, spend the summer and use correctly

Tulip bulbs consist of fleshy shells that cover the already established buds and leaves as a protective coat. Immediately after planting in the fall, each bulb targets the downward rooting. In the following spring, the focus is on vertical growth with leaves, followed by flower stems with buds. If a tulip bulb is too deep in the ground, its strength is already used up after the leaves have sprouted. There is simply a lack of the necessary floral power for stems and buds. Does this cause apply to your flowerless tulips? This helps:

  • Lift the tulip bulbs out of the ground with the digging fork
  • Roots with a sharp, disinfected knife
  • Do not cut the leaves while they are still green
  • Fill a wooden box with potting soil and put the onions in it

Keep the substrate slightly moist in a bright, warm location. Do not cut the sheets until they are completely fed in. For the rest of the summer, store the tulip bulbs in a cool, dark and dry cellar. In autumn, plant the summer bulbs at an ideal depth of 10 to 15 cm in a sunny location in loose, humus-rich garden soil. Since the bulbs have not yet bloomed, the buds are still resting inside. This means that there is a good chance that the flowers will find their way to sunlight next spring.

Tip: Tulips from your own garden are often used as cut flowers for vase decorations. Please only cut the flower stem and leave the leaves on the plant in the bed. The nutrient stores in it are indispensable for the next flowering period.

Insufficient volume of onions

This helps: Patience and loving care

A flower stalk with a bud rises only once from a tulip bulb, which unfolds into a splendid flower cup. Then the onion dies. Before that, a young, blooming onion forms in the armpit of one of its onion scales. Furthermore, other brood onions sometimes thrive along the bulb base. Whether the offspring will flower in the next year depends largely on their size. Unfavorable weather conditions or a meager supply of nutrients can cause an onion volume that is too low.

In response to a small-sized bulb, the affected tulip is limited to the growth of the leaves. They are responsible for procuring enough nutrients that the reserves are sufficient for a bloom in the next year. In this case, a combination of patience and expert care will help. The effort involved in watering when it is dry and fertilizing for 14 days until the dead leaves have been cut is rewarded with a magnificent tulip bloom in the next spring.

If your tulips are just leafing but not blooming, a traditional gardening trick will help. If the failure of flowering is the result of cold and wet weather, put a large glass over the plant. Further reasons for the refusal to bloom are nutrient deficiency, moisture, hasty pruning and incorrect planting depth. You are now informed in a practice-oriented manner about what helps as a countermeasure to each of these triggers. All in all, there are always uncomplicated procedures with which you can help your hesitant tulips out of a predicament and point the way to a furious spring bloom.