Planting Tulips For Holiday Gifts & Aggressive Rose Shoots

Question:

 The tulip bulbs I purchased from a grower in Holland have arrived. I’m planning on planting them in containers to give as Christmas gifts. What do I need to know about the soil preparation and planting these bulbs?   

Answer:

Tulip bulbs require four to six weeks of chilling before planting; otherwise, the flower stems will be very short.
  • Tulips are sold both as chilled and non-chilled bulbs. The grower should have made you aware of this. If not, I’d presumed they’re non-chilled bulbs.
  • You chill tulips by placing them in the vegetable bin of a refrigerator. Make sure any fruit is removed from the bin including tomatoes. The naturally releasing gas called Ethylene released by the fruit will damage the immature flowers.
    • In mid to late November, plant the bulbs in your containers using any of the commercially available potting soil. You should fill the pots half way, sprinkle the soil with Bulb Food and cover the fertilizer with a layer of soil.You now have two options as far as spacing the bulbs. They can be evenly spaced or placed next to one another.
    • I prefer the later when using them as a gift or when planted in containers for color on decks and patios
  •  Straws are used to mark the gaps. You finish filling the pots with soil to within a half of an inch of the rim to leave sufficient room to water. It’s doubtful that the bulbs would have started to sprout through the soil by Christmas. So, remove the straws and add seasonal color such as  Violas, Pansies, and Alyssum to makes them attractive instantly.  The emerging tulips will have no problem sprouting through the roots and foliage.
  • The finished containers are placed outdoors in a protected area and watered every three weeks if it doesn’t rain. I would not put the finishing decorations on until the last minute. For a personal touch add  Pyracantha, Nandina, Privet or Toyon berries along with some bark or decorative rock

Question:

 I have several beautiful rose bushes, but they’re developing small red flowers on some aggressive growth that in some cases are over eight feet tall. The growth is taking over the rose bushes. What can I do to prevent this from happening? 

Answer:

Most of the modern day roses are not growing on their own roots.
  • Instead, they are budded onto a second type of rose known as the rootstock. They are joined together at the bud union. The bud union is the large knot near the ground. Any shoots or growth from below the bud union is growing off the rootstock.
  • This plant produces a single, cherry red flower, which is what I think you are describing. These rogue shoots are commonly referred too as suckers.
  • Roses sucker naturally, so it’s impossible to prevent them from reoccurring. All you can do is be observant and prune off the shoots as they develop.

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