Tulips don’t usually make the list of flowers to grow hydroponically, but, in reality, they’re an excellent candidate.
Can tulips be grown hydroponically? Tulips are one of the best examples of bulbous flowers that can be grown hydroponically. The species thrives in hydroponic systems so well that even soil-started specimens can adapt to the hydroponic culture without issue. You can even regrow new tulips from old bulbs up to two or three times.
Read on below to learn how to enjoy beautiful tulip blooms longer!
Growing Tulips Hydroponically
Tulips are one of the best flowers to grow hydroponically that aren’t typically seen indoors as often as they are outdoors in gardens and flower beds.
They are also one of the easiest to grow hydroponically.
All you need to do is place bulbs in a clean container, covering the roots and half of the height of the bulb with water, and put them in the proper environment.
First though, they need to be chilled. Afterward, you can force them to bloom on windows or under lights.
What Are Hydroponic Tulips?
Hydroponic tulips are simply tulips that are grown in a hydroponic system.
They can come from bulbs that’ve been planted in the soil, or they can be started in the hydroponic system from bulbs to begin with.
They can be cut and regrown in hydroponic systems two to three times on average.
Chilling Tulip Bulbs
Hydroponic tulip bulbs are best chilled one of two ways:
- Place their hydroponic containers in a dark and cool location, and keep the water fresh (for several weeks)
- Stick them in a plastic bag with air holes in the fridge, and keep them there for several weeks.
Generally speaking, Tulips require around 8 to 15 weeks of chilling at temperatures between 35°F and 55°F before they’re ready for planting.
Hydroponic Tulips Pros
There are several significant advantages to growing hydroponic tulips:
- Harvesting flowers is quicker and cleaner
- The entire growing process is less messy than soil-based operations
- Less time in cold storage/chilling is necessary
- Pests, bacteria, and soil-borne diseases are practically nonexistent
- Bigger better bulbs are produced versus in soil
- Water is put to use more efficiently
- Growth is faster and more vigorous in general
Common Problems With Hydroponic Tulips
There are also several common disadvantages that come with growing hydroponic tulips:
- There are water-borne diseases and bacteria to worry about
- Hydroponics requires much closer monitoring than growing in soil
- When issues happen, they occur suddenly and without much/any warning
If you are growing commercial tulip crops in actual hydroponic growing systems (not simple containers with water in the bottom), also consider:
- Hydroponic grow systems take more money to set up than soil-based operations
- Your hydroponic crops are at risk if power outages occur
- Algae, unbalanced pH, and other factors can ruin your crops if left unchecked
Do Hydroponic Tulips Need Fertilizer?
Hydroponic tulips don’t need fertilizer in the classic sense that their soil-based counterparts do. Rather, hydroponic tulips are fed liquid nutrients.
Epsom salts, hydrogen peroxide, and other additives may be mixed into the water as well as pH and EC balancers.
Hydroponic Tulip Care
Growing and caring for tulips is about as basic as it gets for hydroponic flowers:
Tulips adore light and thrive in full sun locations. Indoors, window sills that get several hours of light per day are adequate.
Otherwise, hydroponic tulips may be grown with LED grow lights (like these). Depending on the strength of the light, they need around 6 to 12 hours of artificial light.
The ideal temperature for tulips is 59°F to 65°F while they are growing and after they’ve been cut and placed in a vase of water.
Hydroponic tulips bulbs grown in simple containers should have around 1 to 1.5 inches of water covering them. That means the bulbs should be covered about halfway.
If your bulbs are smaller, make sure that their tops are sticking out of the water. You don’t want to cover them completely.
The only real changes you need to make with your hydroponic tulips are when you’re ready to chill your bulbs or transplant them outside into the soil (which we discuss below).
Other than that, all you need to do is change the water every week or two and keep them at the proper temperature with adequate lighting.
How Long Do Hydroponic Tulips Last?
Technically speaking, hydroponic tulips may be regrown several times.
However, after cutting and regrowing just one or two times, most tulips are done unless they are extremely well-cared for and comfortable in their containers or hydroponic growing system.
Will Tulip Bulbs in Water Bloom Again?
Tulip bulbs in water can bloom again, but there is no guarantee that they indeed will.
Many tulips are capable of reblooming several times. However, even more of them bloom just two to three times before calling it quits.
Can You Plant Hydroponic Tulips in Soil?
Believe it or not, hydroponic tulips transfer to soil and the outdoors quite easily.
Simply plant them as you would “regular” tulip bulbs, keep them well hydrated for a couple of weeks, and then just let nature do its thing.
What To Do With Hydroponic Tulips After Blooming
Once your hydroponic tulips have bloomed, cut the foliage off, and remove the container to somewhere with less light for several weeks (up to 2 months).
Then, simply continue keeping the water changed out every 5 to 10 days and monitor it closely for new growth/shoots/sprouts.
Can You Grow Tulips Indoors Year Round?
Tulips may be grown indoors all year round if cared for properly.
Keep them in fresh water in a cool and dark location where they can chill, and then force them to sprout and bloom by setting them in a window or direct but cool light source.
How To Grow Tulips in Water
So, now that you have a clear idea of what hydroponic tulips are, how they function, and how to care for them, let’s take a look at the actual steps to grow them.
Getting your hands on healthy tulip bulbs is the first step.
Before tulips will grow properly and bloom, they need to be chilled at temperatures below 55°F for between 2 and 4 months (long enough and cold enough to make them think they went through winter).
Planting Hydroponic Bulbs
Place your tulip bulbs into the bottom of the container with the pointy side sticking up.
Add approximately an inch of water to the container, with liquid nutrients (a splash of general all-purpose hydroponics plant food is fine).
Once your tulips are blooming, simply snip them a half-inch or so above the top of the bulb and place them in a vase filled with clean water.
Place them somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight for them to last longer. Change the water every few days.
Storing bulbs, including new ones produced from your hydroponic tulips, after blooming is straightforward.
There is no difference in how you handle the two: place them in paper bags or nets, and put them somewhere dark and dry until you’re ready to plant them again.
Hydroponic tulips are one of the easiest yet most rewarding flowers you can start from bulbs and grow indoors hydroponically.
They grow faster, are healthy, and bloom longer in comparison to traditional outdoor tulips as well. Feel free to check back here and re-read out guide as you walk through your first time growing them!