Want to learn how to care for hydroponic tulips to improve your yield?
Here I have compiled all the practical things and care tips after a lot of research and connecting with some experienced hydroponic growers.
One thing that I have realized while doing research is to stick with the basics. Just like any other crops, provide the Tulips right conditions you will be able to have a great yield.
So lets look in details to how do the basics right!
How to Care for Hydroponic Tulips?
Considering that you have obtained suitable bulbs and all the required accessories such as water trays, paper bags, vase, etc., I’d like to start with mentioning the right conditions to ensure good tulip yield.
You can either use pre-cooled bulbs or chill the tulips by putting them into the paper bag and further into the fridge for about 13 weeks. Once their roots grow around 1-2 inches while chilling, it means the top part is growing.
Please keep them in a cold room, which is around 60-65 F during this phase. The lower temperature means the longer lifespan of tulips.
Humidity is the next essential factor while growing my tulips. It generally depends upon the area where you keep the hydroponics tulips. Always remember that 50% is the best relative humidity (RH) to grow hydroponics crops.
And, it can be up to 80% in the case of vegetable crops. Too much humidity or too little humidity is not both the idealistic situation for hydroponics tulips. Well, I use a hygrometer to keep an eye for the levels of humidity in my grow room. You can one for your hydroponic tulips.
Sometimes, I also use room humidifiers to control the levels of humidity further. The fan or required air movement helps prevent the fungus and molds on the plants and improve the air exchange.
The light is required for at least 8-10 hours per day without any harsh sun exposure. It is because direct sunlight exposure can damage the internal bulbs of hydroponics tulips.
However, artificial lighting is also required when using indoor hydroponic systems. Most importantly, the right kind of light spectrum is needed to grow hydroponics tulips. Both the blue and a red light spectrum is ideal for tulips.
I speak from experience the red light spectrum is suitable for flowering and blooming, whereas the blue light spectrum is essential to make a plant stronger. Experienced growers use the individual LED grow lights with the ideal wavelength to help tulips grow when sunlight is not available.
All in all, you need light for about 10 hours max.
4. Hydroponics Nutrients For Tulips
The appropriate selection of nutrients and dosage is highly recommended along with nutrient-rich water. Generally, the hydroponics plants require 16 elements or nutrients to grow effectively.
Some of these elements are Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen, and Nitrogen, present in the air while the rests of the elements are added via nutrient solution. Adding the nutrient solution is very helpful for dedicated plant growth and less energy consumption.
The very things required as the best nutrients for hydroponics tulips are calcium and nitrogen. I have also used the calcium nitrate solution to mitigate the calcium deficiency effects on plants.
Overall, the tulips need 80% of their cold treatment for about 12-13 weeks as dry bulbs. Afterward, it would help if you planted them into hydroponic trays filled with diluted nutrient solutions of calcium chloride or calcium nitrate.
5. pH or Conductivity In Hydroponic Water
As a rule of thumb, the water pH measurements for tulips should be 5.0 to 7.0. You can use ph+ and ph- chemicals to adjust the optimal ph value of plant nutrients. I mostly use a digital meter to find the current value of pH in hydroponic nutrient solutions and improve it optimally.
You also use conductivity meter to get an idea about the pH of the water solution used in the hydroponic solution.
You are also required to calibrate this digital meter once a month with a pH calibration fluid or pH calibration solution. So, maintain the optimal pH level because it affects the absorption of nutrients required in the hydroponic tulip.
Hydroponic Growing Method for Tulips
In addition to knowing how to care for hydroponic tulips you must use the right method to grow tulips.
There are a whole lot of different techniques and methods to choose from among the hydroponics system. Broadly, the hydroponics techniques are divided into three parts, including the Solid-Media Culture Hydroponics, Liquid Culture Hydroponics, and Aeroponics.
I recommend the Liquid-Culture Hydroponics technique for the growth of tulips. The method further consists of closed and open systems, among which you should always go for private networks.
So, I will discuss both the closed system techniques i.e., NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) and Ebb & Flow Technique.
1. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
NFT is one of the famous and reliable hydroponics methods which are also pretty easy to set up. With this technique, the roots of the tulip will be in direct contact with the nutrient solution. A thin yet sturdy sheet with several sloping drops will be obtained as a channel to the nutrient solution.
The nutrient solution runs from the NFT top unit to the bottom of the container. The growing medium of tulips is then placed between flexible sheets with clips. Its solution flows from the top of the NFT unit to the growing medium where all the nutrients get absorbed.
Then, the roots of tulips will firmly settle as the plant grows. All the nutrient solution is collected in the solution tank where monitoring of pH balance or solution replacement is done weekly or at frequent intervals.
So, this is an advanced NFT technique if you grow commercial hydroponic Tulips.
2. Ebb & Flow Technique
The very next and simplified version of NFT is the Ebb & Flow technique. It is quite easy to set up, less expensive, and similarly effective as NFT. The first step is to place the plants in a fill-tray with little quantities of growing medium.
The excess water and nutrient solution are then dumped within the lower reservoir. A submersible pump comes in place to recycle the water and nutrient solution from the bottom of the reservoir to the fill-tray.
I usually track the flow rate by using a timer in the ebb and flow hydroponic system.
On the other hand, you may need to consider the open hydroponics system in a liquid-culture technique if you also lack space. So, let’s have a look at open orders starting with the root dipping method.
1. The Root Dipping Method
The method is so simple that it will take even less than an hour to setup. The small netted pots are required to grow hydroponics tulips. These pots with the growing medium are then submerged in water about 2-4 cm. Some of the roots are submerged while others are suspended slightly above the tank or reservoir.
2. The Floating Technique
It is the next open system technique under the open system method of hydroponics. The floating technology is quite similar to above except that specific additional steps are required.
Here, the netted pots are filled with a bit of growing medium and seeds. They are further fitted to the top of around 30cm – 40cm wooden growing container or Styrofoam. This Styrofoam or plastic sheet is essential to prevent any leakage of nutrient solution or water.
The growing medium is only for the early growing stages and will no longer be needed after the roots of plants start growing.
3. Hydroponic Forcing For Cut Tulips
The Hydroponic Forcing of cut tulips is a new technique with a high level of economic progress. This Forcing is evolved when the tulips receive 80% of their cold treatments as dry bulbs. They are further planted into trays filled with a diluted solution of calcium chloride, calcium nitrate, and other nutrients.
Problems with Hydroponic Tulips
Knowing how to care for hydroponic tulips is not enough. You should be ready for the issues that your crop can face.
The hydroponics system suffers certain disadvantages whose solutions are required to be fixed as follows.
1. System Leaks in Hydroponics
The leakages in the hydroponics system can clog up the NFT, further leading to overflow and water backing. The leaks can also occur if the system was not set up correctly or if there is any shortage of nutrient solution.
The only answer is to check your system regularly, tighten all the valves, and secure all the connections.
2. Incorrect or insufficient grow lights.
Buying insufficient or incorrect grow lights can be highly damaging for the tulips. It is also sometimes disappointing for the performance of plants’ growth. So, you should always high-quality LED lights with correct wavelengths that are perfect for your hydroponics system.
3. Lack of cleanliness
Lack of cleanliness can be a significant problem in the growth of hydroponics tulips. The infected area also increases the chances of pests or diseases in your hydroponics system. So, keep cleaning your order every 2-3 weeks, flush excess growing media, drain the system, and clean pumps, reservoirs, and tubing.
4. Not adjusting the PH level.
If you are not maintaining or adjusting the required PH level, it can be disastrous. The PH level can change due to the presence of diseases, temperature, rate of nutrients absorption, and excess evaporation, etc.
It’s the reason I frequently monitor pH levels in any plants and adjust them accordingly.
5. Toxicity & Nutrient Deficiency
The toxicity and nutrient deficiency for hydroponic tulips either make them weak or disorganized. Even the excess of one nutrient can cause difficulty in the absorption of other nutrients. Always check how much nutrient solution you require along with monitoring the PH level of water.
So, these were all the aspects you need to understand about how to care for hydroponic tulips. Right from the environmental conditions to facing different problems, I have learned a lot about the merits as well as demerits of hydroponics systems. So do not be afraid of some experimentation while growing your tulips.