unplanted hyacinths, tulips

Ann_02(6B)February 15, 2012

I bought some hyacinths and tulips in the fall. Planted most of them then, but didn't have enough room for the rest. I was going to give them away, but didn't get around to it.

I was lazy and kept them in my garage for awhile till they got moved to a box in my cool basement. I live in zone 6.

The unplanted hyacinths are starting to sprout. The tulips are not. I have no idea what to do with them at this point. I figure it's too late to plant them, but I don't know if they'd last till next fall's planting. Any ideas??

(sorry, I saw the other "unplanted bulbs" post, but thought I'd better start a new thread, as I have a slightly different issue.)

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The unplanted hyacinths are starting to sprout...

I would not wait to plant the survivors. In 6 or 8 months they may be gone. Do you have a old pot in the garage? My hyacinths, planted outside in zone 5, are poking up now. So you could even stick them in the ground. (The winter has been so mild and the ground is not hardly frozen, just cold.)

I haven't had much luck with unplanted tulip bulbs. I got some old ones on sale last year. They never came up, so I don't have much hope for this year.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 6:43AM
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They WILL NOT survive till next year but if you plant them now they will most likely bloom... or at least look weak for a year but have a chance to come back strong the year after that.

If you leave them out of the ground, they will definitely die. Unlike seeds, bulbs are not truly on pause and have living cells that slowly use up the stored energy.

Think of seeds like a solar-powered calculator - truly in suspended animation, waiting for you to press "on" at which case they wake up and begin working; if stored in perfect conditions they can last hundreds of years.

Bulbs, on the other hand, are like an unplugged laptop with the screensaver on - the energy drains slowly, but inside the cells are still active (developing the embryo of next year's leaves and flowers) and still need to have a big energy reserve to come back on at all.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 10:41PM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

I would plant the old bulbs in pots indoors ASAP, water well,and put them somewhere cool like your cold cellar or unheated garage, etc. Whether or not they bloom for you this spring, the bulbs can be planted outdoors as soon as conditions are suitable. Not freezing cold, diggable soil and so forth.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 8:26AM
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Pizzuti, I love your analogy about seeds and bulbs. Thanks so much. And thanks everyone else for your advice. I will plant the tulips right away. I found time to plant the hyacinths a few days ago. We'll see what happens!!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 12:31PM
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shpnquen(z5, IN)

I know you pretty much got your answer to this & planted, but I just want to say that I did the same exact thing last year, so I planted the bulbs (not tulips tho) and they still bloomed, but they were quite short. Now I don't remember where I planted them to know if they end up being the normal size this year or not, but I'm not worried.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 5:38PM
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shpnquen--Thanks for letting me know that your hyacinths still came up, even though you planted them late. I hope they'll improve for you this spring! I guess I can just plan on mine being a little underdeveloped. Best of luck!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:57PM
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You could always send extra bulbs to me. ;)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 11:14PM
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My hyacinths are in full bloom! As warned above, the late planted ones are short, but I think they will be okay next year. I may transplant them into the ground so I don't have to babysit my pot in the garage next winter. Thanks for all the advice!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 2:35PM
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