Can I plant bulbs now?

mje769(z5 NE.)January 21, 2006

Hi gardeners!

I am really itching to plant fall bulbs. Since my weather here in zone Ne5 warms up nice during the day, can I go ahead and plant some fall bulbs? Please let me know!

I need to play in the dirt!! LOL!

Just incase my e-mail is blocked, it is

Thank You!!!


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Marsha, a little clarification would be helpful. By "fall" bulbs, do you mean those typically sold in the fall but bloom in spring? Or those bulbs planted in spring that bloom later in the season, generally from mid to late summer and into the fall?

If the first, unless they have been prechilled, you are a bit late. Planting now is better than hanging on to them, as they tend to deteriorate in prolonged storage, but you are unlikely to get blooms from them this season. Green growth, yes - flowers, probably not but they should produce for the following year. In my area, potted spring blooming bulbs are available now in garden centers and nurseries for early planting. These have already gone through a chill period and generally show foliage and even some budding - some snowdrops, crocus and early narcissus are even in bloom. These of course can be planted now if your soil is workable.

If the second, it is still too early. Spring is at least 8 weeks away, perhaps longer in your area. Planting summer blooming bulbs in soils that are too cold or possibly too wet from winter is likely to result in rotted bulbs, or if the weather is periodically very mild, some early growth that will be damaged by more cold weather that is sure to come.

Mild or unseasonably warm winter weather can be misleading. It may be best to wait for more typical planting times for warm season plants and leave your desire to garden now restricted to tidying, pruning and getting your garden ready for spring. More normal cold weather could resume at any time and undo all your hard work. But getting left over bulbs into the ground is better than letting them go to waste even if you skip this year's flower show. Just make sure your soil is not too wet to be workable.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 9:14AM
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mje769(z5 NE.)

Thank you so much Gardengal for the bulb info! My best bet is to wait until spring and fall and plant bulbs then, why try to fool mother nature in the winter months. Like you said, why put the time and money into bulbs and end up losing them. I will make a list of bulbs I would love to plant when the time gets here, a good winter passtime.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 7:41PM
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I bought some spring bulbs - tullips, crocuses, grape hyacinths - a few days ago. I am going to plant them in shallow pots and keep until spring in unheated garage. I will re-plant them in a garden like one clump or after foliage dies, some I will keep in pots. A few years ago I already did the same and was really glad - I got a lot of bulbs for great price. And also I had enough time to decide where to plant them and how to arrange my flower beds.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 8:03PM
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theresas(z5 Chicago)

I didn't know we could do that! I'm zone 5 too and sub-zero temps hit us in November--my usual planting time. All my bulbs are still in packages and I noticed shoots out of the crocus ones, even though I kept them in the unheated garage. There are some bulbs in my basement. Should I chill them for a week in the refrigerator prior to planting in pots?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 12:19PM
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