will my bulbs be late or no-show since I planted late?

transientgardenerMarch 16, 2009

I didn't move up here to the north (from Florida) until right before Christmas. I was happy to find nice, healthy looking bulbs right after Christmas at a garden center and I planted them right after buying. Since everyone else's crocuses and daffodils have stirred and even tulip leaves are up, I am wondering about mine. Will they bloom just later or am I not going to see them this year? I planted them in window boxes except for the daffodils. I have only found one daffodil (out of the fifteen) that is starting to poke out. I checked the box of the crocuses to see if they were still there or if critters had gotten them and they seem to be there and have roots growing out of them, but as of yet, no top growth.

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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

I'm still a novice myself but my bulb foliage isn't poking through the ground at an even rate. Daffs, Tulips, Hyacinth, Iris Reticulata, Crocus, Pushkinia, Squill...some of each are up and some of each not...right in the same beds or containers. I'm not privy to the inner workings of each bulb and they seem to have their own individual internal clocks.

No doubt much more experienced bulb people can say with more certainty or "informed maybe" what's going on.

The linked Bulb Guide says you might need to prechill some bulbs in Zone 7 but don't know if it's necessity since I don't garden there.

If you scroll down on the linked page you'll see the optimal planting times for Spring blooming bulbs.

Don't know what kind of Tulips you have but different varieties bloom at different times...early, mid and late Spring.

I should've had my bulbs in the ground by November but had some still in bags at end of December so planted them. Some are coming up and others aren't. Better to plant than toss as long as you can work soil (or use containers which I do with some bulbs) as they might give you bloom next year if some don't bloom this year.

You just have to make sure they have good drainage so they don't rot until next next year.

Last year in late Spring I took a lot of bulbs out of beds to rearrange some things and containers since I needed them to plant annuals. I carefully tipped bulbs out of containers onto newspaper and took them out of soil with as much top growth and roots as I could manage. The Tulip bulbs were mostly rotted so had to toss them...didn't know about keeping soil very well draining then. Daff bulbs were mostly fine. I got an old laundry basket with side holes from my recycling center, lined it with newspaper and "planted" the bulbs in the basket using the container potting mixed lightened with some perlite. Kept watering until foliage died back and then just moved entire basket up against house for rest of year until December. When I tipped the laundry basket over the Daff bulbs had LONG roots. I scurried around to find a place to replant them and just hoped for the best. Turns out there were a few Tulip & Hyacinth bulbs in there too but most have started to throw up foliage. I was lucky enough to have much of those long roots intact. Just luck and desperation...no horticultural sure footedness here. :)

Still, it's going to be "wait and see" unless someone with Zone 7 experience can tell you definitively if any of your bulbs needed prechilling...if you didn't buy prechilled bulbs to start with.

Good luck...hope something sprouts for you this year.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ames Bulb Guide

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 10:32AM
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Well I don't think I needed pre-chilling since we have had a cold winter here with lots of days and even more nights below freezing. In fact, we were having below freezing temperatures right up to a few nights ago. Our frost free dates is somewhere between mid APril and early May. Our area has been very dry until just recently so I don't think bulb rot would be a problem. In fact I had to lightly water a few times because of so little water. The bulbs I saw still looked good and not soft.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 12:19PM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

Don't worry; bulbs are often a bit late to sprout their first year because they are busy growing roots and getting settled. They are even later when they are planted late. I plant up to mid-January every year and 90% of my bulbs come up fine, just not on time.

For example, I've had established crocus and dwarf iris blooming for at least a week or two, but the ones planted last year are just barely poking up, and the late-planted ones are MIA. No sign yet of Early Sensation daffodil, though the Chromacolors I planted fall 2007 are already 6-7 inches tall.

Next spring your late bloomers will settle into their usual routines and come up on time!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 2:14PM
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