Forgot to plant bulbs!!

jtvinnereim82January 11, 2013

It's January in Minnesota and I just found A LOT of unplanted tulip and daffodil bulbs! I was supposed to plant them in October and now our ground is frozen. The bulbs have been in our hall closet since fall (a relatively dark and cool place) and they feel firm and look good. What should I do with them?

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Plant the tulips in pots, water and put them outside. There may be a detail or two I'm missing when doing this, but as long as the bulbs are viable this should work. The daffs. needed to establish a root system in the fall, so i'm not knowledgeable in this instance.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 5:23PM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

After you plant them in their pots, I would suggest putting them in your cold cellar, unheated room or garage, anywhere they will be cold, but NOT freeze. If they freeze now, they will likely die or be very deformed. Bulbs planted in the fall have a chance to root and gradually acclimatize to the below-freezing temps. Your bulbs cannot adapt so quickly.
Remember to keep the soil damp over the winter, but do not over water, or the bulbs will rot.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 8:13AM
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Great Question and here's a Follow-up.
If they are dormant now, what advantage would they have, breaking dormancy and growing in a dark location in a pot?
Will the roots begin to grow, but the tops not grow until placed in warm sunlight?
Bulbs do many strange things and I'm still trying to figure out why they do, what they do. :)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 11:40AM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

pretty much what you said, roots begin to grow when planted, tops grow in the spring when it warms up.

These bulbs are summer dormant. The come from areas where the only good times to grow are fall and spring.... so get the roots down in the fall that way they can support the explosion of growth that takes place in the spring. As soon as drought and brutal temperatures kick in the bulb goes dormant again.

The "other" bulbs are summer bloomers. Usually they do their growing only in the summer and do the dormant thing in the winter.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 9:53AM
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Thank-you, kato b. I never really thought about roots growing without the tops growing at the same time. This helps me put the pieces together in my mind. Now the instructions for my forced hyacinths make sense. :)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 4:04PM
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ofionnachta(z6 WNJ)

The tulips probably are "annuals" anyway; most of them do not do great the second year. But you might get a "save" on the daffs if you do the pot thing & then plant outside after the ground warms---they will use their leaves to make the following year's flowers and then go dormant. And it depends on the kind---some of them are very durable and some of the fancy breeds much fussier about their setting.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 6:14PM
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