Hydroponic tulips have become more and more popular, considering the fewer farming facilities and expense of harvesting. However, not all people can succeed in growing those tulips properly.
How to Select Tulips Varieties for Hydroponics?
There are now over 3000 tulips types registered and divided into 15 groups, depending on their sizes, shapes, and blooming characteristics. However, several varieties are truly favorable to hydroponic cultivation.
Here to name a few: Single Early, Double Early, Duc van Tol, Darwin, and its Breeders and Hybrids, Rembrandt, Star Tulip, etc.
When growing flowers hydroponically, you can turn these varieties into 2 primary forms:
- Bare bulbs: Hardly will you grow tulips seeds. There are well-cultivated bulbs available. You will want to choose firm and large bulbs because they will produce big blooms and strong stems.
Move the bulbs into your hydroponic systems and add a dilute calcium nitrate nutrient for rooting.
- Cut tulips: Interestingly enough, tulips can still grow in the vase after being cut. There is a new technique now – mainly for household farming, to hydroponically grow cut tulips.
- You have to take extra care, though. Keep cut hydroponic flowers from direct sunlight, and add cold water as needed.
What Hydroponics System Works Best for Tulips?
Nutrient Film Technique Systems
In a Nutrient film technique (NFT) system, tulips are suspended above a flowing nutrient solution stream over the roots. The channels are tilted so that water can run down the growing tray and drain beneath the reservoir.
Besides, the submersible pump will transfer the water from the reservoir back to the channel.
What makes the NFT systems ideal for tulips is that roots are not pooled in water, and their tips wick the moisture and access to as much oxygen as possible.
- Low consumption: The systems hardly require much water or nutrition to function. You also do not have to invest in extra growing media.
- Modular design: You can apply the NFT systems for commercial or large-scale tulip growing.
- Pump failure: The pump in the NFT systems can stop circulating the film, causing the tulips to dry out. It means you have to maintain diligent maintenance.
- Overcrowding: Supposed that you plant tulips too close to one another, their roots can be obstructed.
Unlike the NFT systems, which flow water for all tulips in the channel, the hydroponic drip irrigation system will connect separate reservoir pumps to each plant. The nutrient solution is slowly absorbed into the growing media around the roots.
There are 2 typical configurations: the recovery systems for homemade growers and the non-recovery system for commercial growers.
- Variety of tulips and plants: You can adjust the sizes of drip pumps to favor different tulips varieties at different development stages.
- Scale: With the above benefit, you can scale up your gardens quickly by adding new tubing systems.
- Extra maintenance: To prevent draining, you have to make a significant effort in monitoring nutrient and pH levels. Also, wash and flush pumps regularly to avoid clogs.
- Complex construction: You had better have professionals build and adjust the drip system if you have no experience before.
Imagine that tulips are planted in the air, exposing their naked roots to nutrient solutions in the form of fine mist. To do so, you will want to build frameworks like towers or cubs.
These systems reduce almost 95% of the water needed and take up confined spaces. Tulips grown in the aeroponic systems are expected to bloom faster.
- Oxygen surplus: Roots are exposed to oxygen as much as possible so that they can grow quickly.
- Mobile design: You can move towers and trays around with no worry about disrupting the tulips. However, it is essential to hand-mist the roots to avoid drying out.
- High investment: A commercial aeroponic system costs thousands of dollars. If you are a DIY grower, you might consider other systems.
- Delicate maintenance required: If you fail to hand-mist when tulips need it or the timer does not go off in time, your entire garden will face disastrous damages.
What Are Ideal Conditions for Hydroponic Tulips?
Tulips do not prefer excess moisture in the air, not to mention, they are growing in water where it is humid. Too much added humidity from the surrounding environment can cause damage.
The average relative humidity indoors is around 40%. You had better have a machine to check the humidity and control the temperature to maintain a proper moisture level.
In well-drained soil, the pH should be around 6.0-7.0. Nonetheless, that in water is between 5.0 and 7.0. There is a lack of some nutrients in water compared to the soil.
No artificial light sources are needed in summer since the flowers can grow well in normal light levels – upon the optimal temperature and humidity.
However, in winter, you might consider adding light to maintain the environment of 12 to 18°C – particularly during the blooming period.
The ideal temperatures vary according to growth stages.
For instance, if you grow hydroponic tulip bulbs, you should note that the pre-cooled bulbs must be stored at 2 to 9°C before moving to the hydroponic systems.
On growing, tulips bulbs start sprouting at 15°C and grow leaves at around 20°C.
When you harvest, store the cut-flower at the temperature of 0–2°C.
Proper nutrient management is critical in growing tulips hydroponically, especially during their initial growth.
Nonetheless, it would help if you took notes that excessive nutrients do more harm than good. They reduce the tulips’ height.
Some essential nutrients required by tulips include:
- Nitrogen (N)
- Calcium (Ca)
- Potassium (K)
- Magnesium (Mg)
- Iron (Fe)
- Phosphorus (P)
- Zinc (Zn)
- Chlorine (Cl)
As mentioned, crowded plantings can also obstacle the roots and prevent them from growing and finding a solution.
The ideal is to give each bulb a space of 18 to 30 inches apart.
Can You Regrow Hydroponic Tulips?
Yes, you can reuse the hydroponic tulips. However, you should know that those flowers can hardly bloom again after twice.
When doing so, you will want to choose healthy bulbs in the first place and apply hydroponic tulips care maintenance.
- Snip withered and dead flower heads after the first bloom
- Avoid direct sun exposure so that buds are not destroyed
- Maintain an optimal condition while growing the flowers
- Consider transferring the hydroponic bulbs to the soil, if any
Here are some tips for using tulips to create an attractive garden throughout this video:
How Do You Care For Hydroponic Tulips?
The key, again, is to maintain the optimal growing conditions in terms of water, humidity, temperatures, light, nutrients, etc.
Moreover, save some quick tips as follows:
- Keep the vases or pots clean and fresh.
- Submerge roots rather than bulbs
- Ensure sufficient sunlight, yet prevent a direct exposure
- Rotate the vase weekly
- Maintain a room temperature of 15 to 20°C
- Collect newly-born bulbs and chill them for the next season
Can You Plant Tulip Bulbs That Have Bloomed In Water?
Yes, if there is any chance you want to regrow the soil-planted tulips that have already bloomed in water, we confirm that you can do so, following these steps for growing tulips in water without soil.
- Let the bulbs recover in soil
- Or, pre-chill them in a paper bag in the fridge temperature for 15 weeks
- Fill in the vase with rock and glass before placing the bulbs upright on the top
- Add water and move the vase to the cool and dark growing space for five weeks
- Change water weekly and keep track of sprouting
- Transfer the bulbs to one of the hydroponic systems recommended above
How Long Do Hydroponic Tulips Bloom?
It depends on the tulip varieties and the quality of bulbs in the first stage. However, most blooming periods will take one week!
Above is all information about hydroponic tulips for beginners, including the types of tulips and hydroponic systems to choose for crop success.
You should also take notes on all of the growing and caring tips to chill your plans and make them bloom beautifully. To close, tulips look gorgeous in vases at home and can even help earn lots of money.