Guilty, Guilty, Guilty

happylady1957January 8, 2009

Hello Folks,

Not that this should be an excuse, but we are in the middle of renovating our kitchen and downstairs bath, and I've neglected to plant the fancy John Scheepers tulip and hyacinth bulbs that were delivered back in October. Abount $100. worth. Really lovely bulbs, all color-coordinated and everything. They have been sitting in their cardboard box in a somewhat cool room. The ground is totally frozen here. Can I store them in my refrigerator at this point? I really do feel awful for doing this. TIA for any help!

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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

We've all done it at one time or another. Pot them up and be done with it. I "discovered" 100 daffodil bulbs last year in January and put all 100 of them in a 13" pot on the back deck. It was spectacularly beautiful. When the foliage died back, I planted them out in the garden.

Depending on your zone, you can do the same thing with your hyacinths, and maybe the tulips too. (It really helps if you put your zone on all your posts. :)

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 11:36PM
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Ooops! Sorry, you are certainly correct about my stating what zone we's zone 5! Can I still pot them up? We do have an area at the bottom of the steps from our Bilco door. Would that area be appropriate to store them in their box until spring thaw?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 9:21AM
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You could end up with something which looks like this.


    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 10:56AM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Oh Wow.
I'd forget my bulbs every year if I could end up with something like that!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 8:47PM
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Yowza! That's spectacular!

I, also, have some Daffodil bulbs that were forgotten as fall turned into winter... I'd like to salvage them... but don't they require a chill period after planting?

Should I pot them up and store the pots somewhere until the weather here breaks? The basement is not as cool as I think would be necessary... any suggestions?

I'd be more than delighted if my poor forgotten Daffy bulbs could look a quarter as good as that pot of Hyacinths!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 9:12PM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

The daffs in my garden don't seem to mind about not being chilled and they keep coming back.

However, what I do have is frequent rain over winter, and some mild days. Like a long drawn-out spring, I suppose.

Be sparing with the water until the roots have started. Even if you put them in a pot at the correct depth but don't cover them until you can see more than the little rim of white bumps around the basal plate after you've watered once. When the roots are about an inch long, then cover the bulbs over and don't water again until the leaves show up - those first little nubs above ground.

Move them into more light and water moderately. A light freeze down to -5C or even -7C should be safe.

What you're trying to do is fast forward through autumn, then winter then early spring, without any of the dramas such as floods or drought. Ease into the watering. They've got stores enough in each bulb to cope with drought. Too much water without the necessary root mass just glooms them out.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 5:41AM
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Thank you for the advice! I always seem to get caught with more bulbs than I can plant, thanks to the late season sales and low bulb willpower!

A few pots of Daffodils might be just the thing!

I can't get over how stunning that display of hyacinths is! And the container used is so perfect!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 9:36AM
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HELP HELP HELP!I think I'm probably the worst of all - I have about 300 bulbs yet to plant - hyacinths, tulips and daffodils....!!! I don't mind putting them in pots - I was sort of planning to do that with most of them anyway - and I just went and bought potting soil so I could get down to it. But I'm in New York City and as of today we are entering a cold snap (temps. in 20's and under for next 10 days.) I'm fairly new to this so forgive my cluelessness, but I'm still not clear after reading the posts as to what I should do...I wasn't sure from vetivert8's post when they should go outside. Do you meant to keep them inside until you see roots and then put them outside? Also - isn't the basal plate on the bottom and if so shouldn't that part be in the soil in which case how would you see the growth - or do you just sit them on top of the soil? (until you see growth and cover them - that part I get!) Thank you in advance for any advice! I'd like to get this done and put them outside on my deck asap but was afraid to put them out in this bitter cold, and I don't want them for inside blooming.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 4:09PM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

Hi linda77
As far as I understand it from planting instructions for people in cold places - the bulbs need to be sprouting roots before the cold settles in for winter. If there's snow - that gives them insulation. If the snow is scoured away by wind then the deep frost can destroy the flowers before they show.

Just above the base plate there's an area from which the new roots come as little white knobs which then lengthen. Bulbs will do this above ground, no soil needed. (Think forced bulbs on pebbles, over a dish of water.) Those roots need to be well along (inches long) to cope with being watered (just damp - like autumn rain) and the extra water that will come with spring.

If they go out into the cold too soon - particularly in containers - the soil will cool down too much and the roots will quit growing too soon.

Short answer - I would put them out into mild days when the green tips start to show above the soil. Somewhere sunny and reasonably sheltered. If your potting mix has slow release food in it - don't feed until after the flowers have finished. They need to be sturdy to cope with spring, rather than juicy with a nitrogen feed. Less likely to be frost hit.

Some of your bulbs are probably already sprouting. Deal with them first. For Tulips and Hyacinths - plant them quite close to the surface. As you can see in that lovely picture - the container is not deep-deep. Your local plant store has possibly got a leaflet for how to plant up a container for your area. Probably cover the bulb with soil (mix) at least as deep as the bulb is long. Watch for the shoots as they come through.

Protect from starving mousies and other bulb scavengers. And from frost heave, if they're outside once the leaves are further up. Frost fleece might be suitable. Not sure, as a zone 9.

Hyacinths don't seem to mind container treatment. Daffs, if crowded and shallow, seem to sulk for at least a year after being planted into regular soil in the garden before they risk flowering again. Tulips seem to prefer depth, so one year in an emergency pot is about enough. Galanthus tolerate pots. Muscari - best place for the little multipliers! They'll flower gleefully.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 2:19AM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

Linda77, pot up your bulbs and put them in your basement wine cellar or an unheated room where the temp. is cool but not freezing. Darkness is best, but I'm not sure it is critical. Daffodil (narcissus) bulbs in particular will freeze and turn to mush if they are subjected to below-freezing temperatures before they are well-rooted. Once they develop good roots, they seem to be OK. Keep the soil moist, but do not over water until you see 1-2" sprouts coming out of the top of the soil. Then put them in a light and preferably medium cool area until the flowers develop, or at least start to show colour. Then the pots can be brought into your dining room, kitchen, etc. After the flowers dry up, I cut them off and keep the pots in a well-lit area, again cool if possible until the weather is suitable for planting outside. Keep the leaves growing as long as possible to give nourishment back to the bulb. Don't forget to water them once in a while.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 10:19AM
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