Hydroponic Tulips Farming, Growing Tulips Hydroponically Introduction
Introduction to hydroponic Tulips farming
Tulips are one of the most beautiful types of flower and these are grown worldwide. People use these flowers on a large scale for gardening, gifts, decoration, and wedding adornments. Where ever used, Tulip flowers add to the beauty and serenity of the environment. There are different colors and different kinds of Tulips. Tulip is first among bulbous ornamentals due to its attractively colored flowers. Several fascinating cultivars grown to perfection in a large variety of delicate shades have developed Tulips cultivation into a great bulb growing industry. Tulips cultivation so far is limited to a few amateur gardeners of the hilly areas in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Tulips are mainly suitable for pot culture, in beds, borders, formal and informal locations. They are suitable for growing in basins in apple, orchards, lawns, rockeries, and wild gardens. Tulips belong to the family Liliaceae. Now, let us get into the details of hydroponic Tulips farming.
A guide to hydroponic Tulips farming/growing hydroponic Tulips
The Tulip flower is shaped like a cup or egg with six petals. The flowers are self-colored or a combination of two or more colors and are striped and marked with contrasting colors. The colors of Tulip flowers range from white to black including several like red, scarlet, crimson, terracotta, orange, pink, purple, violet, chocolate, brown, cherry, magenta, salmon, carmine, rose, cream, yellow, apricot, lilac, mauve, blue and various other hues. Instead of soil, hydroponic gardeners use different types of growing media, such as coconut coir, vermiculite, perlite, and more. In a nutshell, the idea behind the hydroponics system is to remove as many barriers as possible between a plant’s roots and the water, oxygen, and nutrients it needs to grow (and thrive). This can be done in different ways, which is why we’ll look at the different types of systems you can use to grow hydroponically but first, let’s understand the benefits and downsides of growing without soil.
Growing hydroponic Tulips.
The Tulips grown in water with the bulbs still intact are known as Hydroponic Tulips. This is a technique of growing Tulips without in water, which can be in vases or bottles as well. Hydroponic Tulip flowers are not like ordinary cut Tulips which have a much lesser life. The specific method used to grow plants by water is known as hydroponics. Tulip bulbs of good quality are used which are free from harmful bacteria. The method followed on commercial level of Tulip cultivation is summarized below;
- The suitable bulbs are obtained and located in the specific water trays.
- In the next step, the trays are kept in cold rooms with temperatures around 8°C. This is done to enable the dormancy to be finished.
- It is important to mention that the design and material of the trays are important in the cultivation. The bulbs must be placed upright without being damaged by the needles.
- Then the water is added in the trays returning them to cold storage at a temperature of 3 to 5°C. The bulbs are kept here for about 3 weeks. Then, this period can be reduced up to 10 days in the last months of the year and 4 cm of the root is grown in this stage which is enough to absorb the water. Calcium nitrate is added to aid healthy plant growth.
- After the plant roots have grown, the bulbs are sent to greenhouses. These greenhouses are kept on warmer temperature which is modified between 21 to 16°C on different stages. The plants are watered by pipes lying over the boxes.
- Cleanliness is not ignored here and boxes are regularly sterilized at a higher temperature of around 60°C to avoid any kind of harmful bacteria, molds, or other microorganisms.
Considerations for achieving optimal hydroponic farming conditions for Tulips
Here are considerations for achieving optimal hydroponic growing conditions;
Water – pH measurements between 5.0 and 7.0 are a rule of thumb.
Light – Direct sunlight exposure or supplemental lighting is required on average of 8 to10 hours per day.
Nutrients – The primary nutrients necessary for plant growth are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium.
Temperature – Consistent temperatures between 10-21°C for fall plants and 15-26°C for spring plants.
Oxygen – Supplemental oxygen supply is need for optimal nutrient uptake.
Structure and Support – Stakes and strings are needed to support plants as they grow.
Different varieties of Tulips for hydroponic farming
There are different classes of garden Tulips that are in cultivation. These are early flowering Tulips such as Duc van Tol, Single Early, Double Early, the midseason such as Mendal and Triumph. The late flowering Tulips such as Darwin, Darwin hybrids, Breeders, Lily flowered, Cottage, Rembrandt, Parrots, Double Late and Species Tulips, and their hybrids. A few species such as Tulipa stellata and T. aitchisonii, are natives of Himalayas. T. stellata is commonly known as Star Tulip.
Hydroponic bulb basics
The basic procedure with hydroponic Tulip forcing is to give approximately 75 to 80 percent of the cold requirement to dry, unplanted bulbs. Depending on the cultivar and time of year, this might be 12 to 14 weeks. Tulip bulbs are then “planted” into the system and a dilute calcium nitrate solution is added for rooting (about 1.0-1.2 mmhos/cm2). Rooting proceeds at 4°C for 3-4 weeks for early crops or 2 to 3 weeks for later crops. After the entire cold requirement has been provided, Tulip bulbs are moved into the greenhouse for forcing. The Tulip plants are then fed with calcium nitrate, to maintain an EC of 1.2-1.5 mmhos/cm2.
Hydroponic forcing of cut Tulips
The hydroponic forcing of cut flowers is a relatively new technique. The earliest reports on hydroponic Tulip production showed a requirement for nitrogen and calcium, with calcium nitrate being the best calcium source to use. Commercial progress in hydroponic forcing has been very rapid and currently, 70 to 80% of Dutch cut flowers are forced hydroponically, compared to 30-35% in 2002. A key factor to successful hydroponic production of cut Tulips was the realization that a “water-forced” Tulip does not need the massive root system that was traditionally seen on pot or soil has grown crops. Hydroponic forcing has evolved whereby bulbs receive about 80% of their cold treatment as dry bulbs (12-13 weeks) and are then planted into hydroponic trays filled with a dilute solution of calcium nitrate or calcium chloride. Bulbs are returned to cold temperatures, where rooting proceeds for another 2 to 4 weeks, where after the bulbs are forced in the greenhouse.
Advantages of hydroponic Tulips farming
Advantages of hydroponic Tulips farming.
Some main advantages of hydroponically produced Tulips are;
A reduced requirement for cold storage facilities, as most of the cooling, is done to dry bulbs that occupy less volume, and harvesting is much cleaner, faster, and easier compared to soil culture. As compared to the traditional soil and peat method, the undermentioned benefits are observed due to hydroponic forcing.
- This method reduces the period, energy, and expense of harvesting.
- Bulbs can be chilled at lower temperature levels.
- It is a relatively clean procedure with no soil handling.
- The bulbs formed are pretty easier to clean as compared to the soil ones because they are water grown and soil does not come in contact to contaminate the flowers.
- Hydroponic Tulip bulbs after they bloom can be transferred into the soil as well. So if you receive a bouquet as a birthday gift, you can make it enhance the beauty of the garden without wasting the bulbs.
Disadvantages of hydroponically produced Tulips
There are also several disadvantages of hydroponic Tulip forcing. They are;
Not all cultivars are suited to hydroponic forcing, high quality, and disease-free bulbs are required, and a need for specialized equipment, exceptional cleanliness is a prerequisite, whilst the norm is that a slightly lower quality of hydroponic Tulips is produced compared to soil-grown Tulips.
As everything and every technique, hydroponic growth technique comes with some particular disadvantages as well;
Not every bulb is suitable for hydroponic forcing. High quality and disease-free bulbs are suitable for the process.
The Tulip flowers grown by this technique are somewhat lower in size and quality as compared to the ones grown in soil. The soil Tulips are 2 inches bigger and 8% stronger than the water grown Tulips. Although fresher researches are introducing plantation and temperature level adjustments to solve this issue.
The storage and fixing of the hydroponic Tulip bulbs in the trays are tricky. Then, this needs properly trained cultivators to do the task. Risks of contamination are higher so proper machine cleaning is required on large scale Tulip hydroponic production.
Tulip plant care in hydroponic farming
Tulip plant care.
The optimal environment is a room with a lot of natural light, at room temperature level. The lower the temperature level (above freezing), the longer the Tulips will last. Then, they tend to do well in rooms with an average temperature of about 15 to 18°C.
Even if the room is cool, avoid direct sunlight to the vase and the greenhouse effect will cause the inside to heat up. This can reach uncomfortable levels, damaging the Tulips and reducing their life-span.
It is important not to over-water the bulbs. There must be at least 1/3 of the bulbs sticking out of the water. Changing the water is fine, but be careful not to damage the plant roots. Hold the Tulip flowers and stems carefully while pouring out the water. Refill with regular tap water.
The average life span of Tulips
Depending on the plant variety, the blooming period lasts about a week. We provide the flowers together with the bulb so they can live out a longer part of their life-cycle in the home. The best thing you can do to help them bloom as long as possible is to keep them at a comfortable temperature between 15 and 21°C. Too much heat will reduce the plant life span. Make sure to keep the plant roots underwater, but don’t submerge the bulbs (rule of thumb is max 2/3 of the height of the bulb underwater). To make the most of our flowers, we recommend getting them when they are still green, that way you can enjoy more of the growing procedure.
How to regrow Tulips with hydroponic farming
You will have the best chance at success when growing them by soil, but if you’d like to attempt to grow them in the water again, here are the steps we recommend taking.
Hydroponic Tulip bulbs after they bloom twice bloom again. After cutting the flower heads for the second time, you can let the foliage dry out and new Tulip bulbs will grow. Just separate the new Tulip bulbs and chill them to be replanted in the fall again.
Before attempting to force bulbs in water, we recommend letting them recover in soil by the instructions above or pre-chill your bulbs in a paper bag in the refrigerator for 12 to 15 weeks.
Once you’re ready to plant them, fill your old vase 2 inches deep with rock or glass and place the Tulip bulb on top with the pointed area upright. The idea with this is to use the beads or rocks to hold the bulb itself out of the water while still allowing plant roots to receive moisture. Fill the vase with water until it comes just about 1 inch from the bottom of the bulb. Then move the Tulip bulb and vase to a cool dark location for 4 to 6 weeks. You must change the water often, about once a week, and keep an eye out for sprouting.
Once the Tulip bulbs begin sprouting, you can bring them into the open again and begin caring for them the same way you did the first time they bloomed.
Growing hydroponic Tulip bulbs at Home
Generally, growing Tulips hydroponically at home is a pretty easy and interesting activity for people having a taste for gardening. A few steps are stated below as your guide to cultivating hydroponic Tulip bulbs at home.
Step 1) Initially, the Tulip bulbs are chilled using a paper bag in your fridge for about 13 weeks. You can use pre-cooled bulbs easily available in the markets in the season.
Step 2) Now take some beads or pebbles and fill them about 2 inches in a vase of your choice. You can choose the vase according to the interior of your room.
Step 3) Now put the Tulip bulb inside the vase on the pebbles. Add water up to one inch of the lower portion of the bulb to provide moisture to the plant roots without wetting the bulb. Let the hydroponic Tulip vase rest in a dark and cool place for about 5 to 6 weeks until the sprouting makes you excited. The water must be changed every week to avoid any kind of contamination.
Step 4) After about 15 weeks, the sprouted bulb can see the sun through a window of the house. The golden sunlight will energize the bulbs and they will soon turn into the stem and green fresh plant leaves.
If you decide to enjoy the natural process of this beautiful Tulip flower, do not forget to change the water weekly and keep the level constant. Your pretty hydroponic Tulips will beautify the corner for a couple of weeks.