Report: Experiment on Optimal Lab Design for Tulip Experiments


(With translation from Report-speak.)

Executive Summary

For the current base location (approximately half-way between poles), at the altitudes tested (between 0 and 50 blocks above sea level), tulip growth speed is not significantly affected by type of back wall, lighting, or warmth. Increased altitude might have an effect.

Translation: Stop fooling around and build the mega-lab. Don’t be surprised if things slow down if it gets too tall.


A literature survey indicated that it might be possible to save significant time by optimizing the growing conditions, through manipulation of the presence or absence of a back wall, the material of the back wall, lighting, heat, growing medium, altitude, and distance from the equator. A short series of tests indicated that at a distance of approximately halfway between poles, an altitude between 0 and 50 blocks above sea level, the fall growing season, and growing in compost only, the qualities of a back wall, lighting, and heat will make no significant difference in the speed of future experiments. This result is fortuitous, as it will simplify the building of greenhouses for future experiments. Future questions include the effects of growing medium, other altitudes, and colours.

Translation: All those things I thought would speed up future experiments? They don’t. I still don’t know if it’s worth making all that compost, or if things will slow down in a tall lab, but for now I’ll use glass, marble or lime back walls, or maybe headache or painted if that shows the tulip color better (thanks asyc for the idea), compost floors, and enough lighting to see comfortably.


All assistants should carry food, trapdoors, and ladders. In addition, assistants using jetpacks should carry extra fuel, and attention should be paid to the low fuel warnings.

Translation: Oops.

Tests to determine the safe distance between tulips and fires should be of sufficient duration to show accurate results.

Translation: A too-short test said that I could plant right beside the fire. Oops.

Experimental Method

A series of rooms were constructed. Each room was 3 blocks high, 30 blocks wide, and had a compost floor. The back wall varied with room. There were 7 steel downlights at one end of each room, and two fires near the other, situated so that tulips could be planted on either side of the fire. The top room was unlit and had neither roof nor backwall. The setup is illustrated in Figures 1 through 5.

Tulips were planted in the conditions thus achieved, and their growth observed.

Translation: A picture is worth 1000 words.

Tulips were planted in two passes, first in alternate slots in every room, top to bottom, then in the remaining slots. This removed the effect of the time taken to plant the bulbs. All tulips were planted mid-day.

Translation: In earlier experiments, the ones planted earlier bloomed earlier, regardless of growing conditions.

All tulips were planted from bulbs which had been cloned from wild tulips, indiscriminate of colour.

Translation: I hope colour doesn’t make a big difference.

The experiment was started in late summer and continued through fall, this being the average temperature for the region. (Carrots were flowering, then dropping. There was snow in the air before the tulips were harvested.)

Translation: Hopefully cold enough that if heating made a difference, it would show.

Translation of translation: I didn’t think about season, but lucked out. I hope.


A series of photos is attached.

No tulips bloomed before night the third day, except for the very first tulips planted. Most bloomed in the evening of the third day, with the remainder blooming that night. All tulips were in bloom at dawn the fourth day.

The first set of tulips with no backwall bloomed before evening the first day, then became sprouts and did not bloom again until the third day. (No pictures were taken.)

It is difficult to examine tulips during the night, even when lit, so those that bloomed overnight could not be examined until the morning.

?Growing speed did not change significantly with proximity to a fire, even in the open air with snow in the air.

Bulbs planted with insufficient light pop out of the ground either immediately or at night, depending on light levels.

Tulips with moderate light in the glass and marble rooms bloomed before those under the downlights in the same room.

Tulips under downlights in the compost room bloomed before those without light in the same room.


Too much light delays the blooming as much as too little.

The effect of fire is minor, and may be due to light rather than heat.

Building materials and warmth made little effective difference in growing time, but did make a difference for tulip colour observation.

Using ideal growing conditions will not substantially improve the speed of future experiments. Using materials that are easy to produce and place, and to see tulips against, will have a larger effect on the ease of experimentation.

Translation: All that work, only to find it makes no difference.


Based on these experiments, and other experiments regarding ease of building and tulip visibility, it is recommended that glass or marble backwalls be used, and possibly limestone, with clay or steel lamps as needed for visibility. The existing marble rooms can be reused.

Translation: Use light coloured back walls and some lights, and get on with building the mega-lab.


Outstanding report, very well thought out and constructed experiments!

Very interesting finding with regards to the use of too much or too little light. I tend to use steel lanterns on either marble or glass backwalls for my tulip farms, although most of the time I have the natural sky for colour checking.

Also I would like to see if you would try planting the tulips on either side of the equator to determine if the blooming season there is more frequent than between poles.

Regarding checking tulip colours against various backwalls, such as marble for most colours or basalt for the lighter coloured tulips and depending on the time of day can be difficult as the tulip colours look different under the different lighting conditions.


Thanks! This was the final experiment of several. The early ones helped me design the final one. It went a lot faster than I expected.

Yeah, the equator might cut a day or three off the growing time. I haven’t decided which to try next: Separation requirements, or speed at the equator.

You’re right, basalt might work better for lighter coloured tulips. Or may just compost, which takes fewer steps. I was planning on painted glass, which is easy to change.

I suppose for perfectly consistent lighting, we need to protect the viewing area from all natural light. That might take a lot of building. I like the look of them against the sky, but that means wide or very tall buildings, or a lot of backwall removal. I might look at the cost of reinforced platforms.

One project at a time.

Next step: Harvest and organize all my bulbs (they’re all clones of wild ones) and toss the seeds in the random pile.


You should seriously make a server entirely for research so you can have people help out.


I do enough teamwork in real life. These solo projects are a nice change of pace.

If anyone wants to take a question and run with it, go ahead! If you have other questions, share them.


Love love love this post. In fact you have inspired me to start some new tests at my tulip farm. Luckily I have a lab up already so I only need to build new stuff for specific tests.
Thanks @cricketB for all the research. :grin:


If you want to repeat or improve on any I do, go ahead. My sample was pretty small, and I’d love to see how it works in a different season, altitude, or move closer/farther from the equator.

I bet Dave is laughing at this. He knows exactly which variables are important, and we’re chasing all of them.