Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Tree)


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Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Tree) Seeds

Zone: 4 to 9.

Native to eastern North America.

The Tulip tree is one of the largest deciduous trees in the eastern United States. It derives its name its from its cup-shaped flower as well as the tulip outline of its leaves.  It blooms in May and June, producing tulip-shaped flowers 2 inches across with greenish-yellow petals and a splash of orange at the base. The Tulip tree is a fast growing tree with an oval canopy. Foliage consists of alternating leaves with 4 to 6 distinctive lobes, a flat base and two ear-like tips. The bark is grey with longitudinal ridges. It likes s sunny site with well-drained loamy soil. The Tulip tree is an excellent shade and ornamental tree for the discriminating gardener and tree enthusiast. The flowers produce nectar that attracts ruby-throated hummingbirds and the seeds are popular with various birds and squirrels.

Size: Height 70 to 90 ft; Width 30 to 50 ft.

Germination Instructions

Note: Tulip trees seeds have a low germination rate, so plant more seeds than you need to get successful results. Viable seeds also exhibit deep dormancy, so be patient.

Stratification: Seeds require about 90 tom 120 days cold stratification at 3° C (37° F) to 5° C (41° F).

  1. First place seeds in a container with warm water and leave them in the water for about 24 hours.
  2. Next mix some soiless mixture for starting seeds or sand and vermiculite moisten with water and place it in sandwich bag(s). Note: mixture should be moist not soggy. The bag(s) should not be sealed. Poke holes or leave partially open for air.
  3. Place the seeds inside the mix and refrigerate for about 90 to 120 days.
  4. Occasionally check to see if seeds are starting to sprout.
  5. After the required time plant the seeds 1/4 inch deep in a sheltered spot in the ground or in pots where they can grow. The young saplings can be transplanted to the desired permanent location in the ground after a couple of years when they have grown a few feet.