Question on forcing tulips

ShotgunJanieJanuary 23, 2011

Hi :) I'm a relatively new gardener -- kinda learning what I can as I go. During the fall, I picked up just a few extra bulbs to keep aside for forcing. This was my first season dealing with bulbs so forcing them is also new to me. I'm hoping I didn't screw this up already before I've even gotten started. The 3 bulbs (Triumphs) have been stored in a small paper bag in my downstairs fridge since 11-16. I don't remember what source I must have seen, but I obviously don't recall reading that they should be potted up to chill. I checked on them last week and they're still firm and seem to be in good condition. Since they've been chilling but are not potted up, where do I go from here?? Do I pot and then chill a second time? I sure hope I didn't mess this up already -- I'm looking forward to an early preview of my work outside :) Thanks so much for any advice!!

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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

Next step is to take the pot you've chosen (about 5" wide, fairly deep - say 8", and and it needs to have good drain holes), plus your growing medium - either a soil-based, or soil-less. Not bulb fibre, unless you don't want to keep the bulbs for next year.

Plant them so the bulb is just covered with the mix, and water once. Let it drain.

Put the pot into a cool and shady place (50F and under. Above freezing.) Leave it there for two weeks or so until the bud is through the neck of the bulb.

Some Triumphs were bred using Early tulips - and some can be seriously 'early' - so keep an eye on the pot.

When the bud is through, bring the pot into full light. You can water again - enough to keep the mix damp (not 'wet'). Don't let it sit for ages in a saucer of water.

Warmth-wise - stay under 65F. The flowers will last longer. Don't spray the plants or 'mist' them indoors. You could encourage mould. Also keep an eye out for aphids. (Don't know where they arrive from, but they do, and they help any viruses shift from plant to plant. Rubber gloves and squish! is the most environmentally safe method of control available.)

When they finish flowering, and your outdoor temps are more friendly, you could put the pot out into a sunny, sheltered spot to finish out the season. Take off the flower stalk and leave the leaves. You can feed them each week with normal strength houseplant food. Just - don't feed them while they're in flower, though in-bud is okay.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 8:54PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I have to disagree with the above. Your bulbs should have been planted in damp soil way back in Sept. Tulips need around 15-16 weeks in temps around 40 F to root properly. Simply storing the bulbs dry in the fridge isn't going to work. If you plant them now, I really have no idea what's going to happen, but they won't bloom properly.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 3:42PM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

That could be true.

However. Those bulbs have done their 16 weeks cool - in the fridge.

If they aren't planted up - you won't be able to see what happens next.

With a pot of dirt, careful watering, and care - they have a chance...:-)))

Even ONE flower would be a smile!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 8:29PM
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