Wild tulip, Tulipa sylvestris - care and propagation

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wild tulip - tulipa sylvestris

The wild tulip is one of the most endangered species on the Red List. For decades she grew wild as a weed on vineyards, originally from the Mediterranean and the Middle East. With the professionalization, and especially with the use of herbicides in wine growing, the Tulipa sylvestris have almost completely disappeared from the scene. That alone is reason enough to bring the beautiful, yellow-flowered lily plants into the gardens and cultivate and multiply there.

Location and ground

As a heat-loving plant from southern Europe, it prefers to grow in sunny and warm locations. Nevertheless, they get along very well with cold winters and do not need further winter protection. On the contrary, under a precautionary winter protection could cause too much moisture and plant parts would rot. Too much moisture outside its flowering time, the wild tulip is very sensitive. The soil should be loose and nutritious. A pH between 8 and 10 is ideal. It reacts very sensitively to compacted soils, to competition with lawns and to the use of herbicides. This is ultimately the reason why they are found in the vineyards, at least on the conventionally managed areas, in Germany barely. Their natural locations, such as light meadows in forests, are becoming less and less.

Pouring and fertilizing

During flowering Tulipa sylvestris like to be quite wet. In this time, especially when there is little rain, you should always keep the soil well moist. About 2-3 weeks after flowering, do not administer additional water. The summer is best spent in the dry. If the location is ideal, Tulipa sylvestris species need no horticultural care, no fertilization. In order to promote the willingness to flower, one sometimes meets the recommendation to fertilize them during the flowering period weekly. Here everyone should rely on their own experiences over time. In any case, no fertilizer is used after flowering.

To cut

The Wild Tulip does not need a pruning. If you do not want to receive seeds or avoid them multiplying by their seeds, you can cut off the withered plant parts. At the same time, this ensures that the force now migrates to the next onion generation, which will then produce many new flowers next year. The leaves remain on the plant until they are properly dried. Then they can be easily removed.


The Tulipa sylvestris multiply generatively, by seeds and vegetatively, by Brutzwiebeln. If they like the location and circumstances, they multiply quite well. If it gets too much, you can pick individual bulbs and the bulbs in the late summer to autumn. Now the brood bulbs can be removed and used elsewhere or given to the neighbors. The mother onion can then be put back into the ground. With a pruning directly after flowering prevents the Aussamen.
  • Vegetative propagation
This is certainly the easiest way to increase the stock of Tulipa sylvestris and requires no horticultural activities. However, if you want to change the location, because the growth and multiplication at this point leave something to be desired or simply to spread it further, you have to act in the late summer to fall. Each onion expels at least one new daughter on a spur per year, depending on the growing condition also several. The old onion is initially exhausted and will not develop flowers next year. The bulbs are then separated from the onion and used 10-15 cm deep at their new locations. It is best to put several onions at once, with the tip upwards, into a hollow. Then earth comes on it and the area is cautiously set. If large onions were present, they can flower the following spring. In any case, but should have formed a leaf.
Tip: Be careful, the wild tulip onions from the trade must not be planted in vineyards or in the wild. That would be an interference with natural, genetic diversity. Likewise, you can not transplant onions from nature and vineyards without the permission of the nature conservation authorities and certainly not for your own garden.
  • Generative propagation
For an increase in the garden a conscious sowing is quite laborious. It can take five years to flower first. After flowering in the spring, the mature seeds form and can be collected. The seeds require a cold frost before expulsion, thus their so-called seed immunity is broken.Due to humidity, warmth and increasing days in spring, a scion then begins to grow in depth to form an onion there. At the top you can only discover a grass-like stalk. Only in the following year a small tulip-like leaf becomes visible. Up to the first flowering can go then still more than 3 years into the country. Exposed in the field, you need not worry about a special winter protection even in these early stages.


On the market, onions of different tulip species are available, of which there are again several varieties. Thus, the colors and shapes of each wild species can vary widely:
  • Tulipa sylvestris - wild tulip, vineyard tulip, forest tulip: flowers yellow-greenish, plant height up to 35 cm
  • Tulipa tarda - star tulip: flowers yellow and white; gets only 10 inches high; especially suitable for rockeries; very prolific
  • Tulipa bifloriformis - Tashkent tulip: flowers snow white and yellow, usually three flowers on short stalks; Growth height up to 30 cm
  • Tulipa humilis - Dwarf tulip: flowers white with a blue-violet heart, also red and purple flowering varieties are available; Growth height about 15 cm
  • Tulipa clusiana - Lady's Tulip: flowers yellow with elegant, lance-shaped petals; 1-2 flowers per plant; Growth height up to 30 cm
ConclusionWild tulips planted in groups are a beautiful eye-catcher in rock gardens or in natural, sunny beds. The star-shaped flowers smell in the sun and attract especially small wild bees. In damp weather and at night the flowers close. Anyone who has found the right location for the Tulipa sylvestris can enjoy these sturdy and charming tulips for years to come.

Video Board: Wild Tulips.

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