The Tulipa wilsoniana, or as it sometimes known as - Tulipa montana Lindley, is a specialty among species tulips and it is all down to its native habitat. Found on the mountains of Turkmenistan at a height of approximately 3000m, Tulipa wilsoniana is categorized among the group known as the'alpine tulips', and like all true alpines T. wilsoniana exhibits specific characteristics that has enabled them to survive in such harsh conditions.
As strange as it may seem, these special modifications can also help theses plants deal with extremes of heat. This is because both environments suffer with a lack of available water (In its mountain environment water becomes unavailable during the winter period as it freezes) and as such, it has become a particular favorite of tulip-starved residents of Southern California. Although the weather in these harsh dry environments is unsuitable for flower initiation, you can enforcing a dormancy period on the bulb by placing it in the salad compartment of a household fridge. Leaving it there for 6 weeks or so will usually do the trick. However the change in habitat will create a far taller plant than the European norm of no more than 6 inches.
In the south of England you can expect to see the emergence of new succulent growth come January. These first few leaves are slow to progress but they eventually develop turning a pretty glaucous color caused by a grey-blue waxy surface. Mature leave will also display an ornamental oscillating edge. Unfortunately you will have to wait until at least the end of March for the flowers appear but it is worth the effort once the first deep vermilion red flowers with blue-black centres shows its face.
Main image attribution: I, KENPEI https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en
For related article click onto the following links:
How to Grow Species Tulips from Seed
HOW TO PLANT TULIPS
OLD, BROKEN, AND UNUSUAL DUTCH TULIP VARIETIES
OLD DUTCH TULIPS - Tulip 'Absalom'
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