Spring blooming bulbs

DanianniFebruary 6, 2011

I was recently given 100's of tulips, crocus, daffodil, hyacinths, iris. I live in zone 5 Michigan and we have 12 in. of snow right now. What can I do with all these bulbs?

Can I plant them in spring? Should I freeze or refrigerate them now? How cold do they have to be to get them to bloom?

Should I plant them and keep them cold? I have seen all kinds of conflicting info on the internet. Please help.

I would like to salvage them if possible. Thanks.

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iris_gal(z9 CA)

No no no to freezer. Also in your zone refrigerator chill is not necessary for any. But you don't want to keep these in the house at a warm temp. or they may begin to sprout. An unheated room or garage. Refrigerator as last resort. No apples in the fridge as long as the bulbs are there as they produce ethelene gas which kills the buds in the bulbs.

Best would be if you could put into pots now, water once and place in cool location until green appears. Then into sun. You can layer the bulbs to save space with largest on the bottom and smallest on top. Soil between each layer of course.

The only one which may be iffy in your zone are the iris if they are Dutch (the taller ones florists use). But if they are the short reticulatas they will be fine in your zone.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 4:24PM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

What Iris Gal said. Keep them cool in an unheated garage, attic, etc but not freezing. If you get a day where the ground thaws, get out there immediately and plant them. If you can put them in pots, that is best. Keep the pots in a cool place, let them bloom in the spring, and plant them in the garden when the foliage starts to yellow.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 4:46PM
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All you have listed are spring flowering bulbs....and were bought understandably in the fall for planting in the fall.
The reason why is so they can be given a soil temperature that begins their rooting and, with "true bulbs", like the tulips, they develop roots which protects them from the coming freezing temperatures. Thet requre a cooling period which begins their roots--once formed, they then are protected against temperatures down to 40 below C or F.

I take it your bulbs have been kept in storage...on a shelf somewhere, maybe in a paper bag, and show no sign of roots formed.
In that case....well, its not a pretty picture....they cant come to anything....its impossible....they don't have roots. Here it is 4 months past when they should have gone into the ground.
You could try to plant them outside in the ground...pull the snow away, pour hot water onto the ground, dig what you can, and then mound potting soil up to form a mound which you then put the bulbs into and mulch them heavily.
Perahaps there is still time to form some roots....some..maybe. Otherwise, they are just fodder for the squirrels to dig up.

There is no point in trying to promise you your bulbs can still attain something....you've left it too late.

If you have a 2012 calendar....go to the month of October...start at Sunday the 2nd..put a big "B"
there and then go to Saturday the 29th...and put a big "S" there. Fill in the space with "U" "Y"....."B" "U" "L" "B" put across the page under that "p".."l" "a" "n" "t"
"b" "u" "l" "b" "s"
Then you wont forget that bulbs need to be planted immediately when you buy them....if not that day, the next.
The bulbs cannot be stored longer than 2 - 3 months...in the refrigerator away from fruit. But for these if you don't plant them ...throw them on the compost pile--they'd at least amount to something.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 3:35PM
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livsauntieshel(6b/7a south PA)

She said they were given to her, not that she forgot them.

Why the 2012 calendar? Is she not allowed to BUYBULBS/PLANTBULBS in 2011 because of her bulb mistreatment this season? She's in the penalty box for this year?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 7:11AM
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Bad boob, that's me....I was thinking next year instead of next fall and posted '12....
given to her, not forgotten.....sorry, but the same holds true; doesn't matter how she came into possession they cant come to anything...they don't store well and by summer if planted will be soft and mushy because they don't have roots to take in nourishment. Just fodder for squirrels and they'll rot and be an invitation for insects to feast on.

Its sad to say when people look forward to seeing lovely blooming bulbs but if not planted when they are supposed to be planted they must expect to not have good results.
Sometimes we get away with doing things outside of the normal, the usual, the way its done. Planting bulbs before their time is taking a chance heavy moisture doesn't begin to rot them and planting after their best time is also taking a chance at the environment around them doesn't treat them well.
Hence the suggestion that the writing on the wall--or the calendar, can remind gardeners to plant them at their optimum time for best results.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 10:55AM
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Bulbs of this nature require a certain interval of time...in the ground, or in their pots, at a prescribed temperature.
If they don't get either one or both, then the chances for them to acquire roots and develop the stems/foliage/flowers is pretty remote.
If they do develop something, chances again are they wont develop fully; maybe some stalk will break ground...its in the bulb...and if that happens then bless them for their strength of maturing. If this happens then count on them not producing bloom....bloom requires lots of energy to be expended by the bulb..but even if it doesn't, then count on them returning next year at their normal time.
Just let them wither the same way the normal ones do, let them go brown and send their starches and sugars back down into the bulb. Then dig them up from their minimum hole, dig their new home and re-plant IMMEDIATELY...OR remove the spent foliage/stalk/stem...and store them in a cool, dark place until you are ready to plant. But don't wait too long..their best place for storage is in the ground.

With so many bulbs planted so shallowy, they are at the mercy of any vermin that might catch a whiff of them. Beware of any squirrels that hang around the garden and shoo them. A plastic owl can sometimes work..but move it around too.

Happy gardening!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 11:18AM
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