will me emergent tulips survive this cold

njitgradMarch 13, 2014

It's brutal out there today especially with the wind. Was wondering if the tulips in my flower beds that just started breaking the surface will survive today and tonight.

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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

They should.

The shorter and smaller the stems, the more cold they can take. Generally 1-3" tulip sprouts, IME, are OK into temps in the teens. The bigger danger than freeze damage is they can more easily break off when frozen (even if they'd be OK once thawed, if not broken off first).

As they get closer to bloom size, the tolerance dips a bit...but that said, I've had tulips in full bloom freeze solid in mid 20s temps and recover. Daffs are tougher still, and I've seen them in full bloom recover from temps in the upper teens. That's at bloom size. Just-emerging can go much lower, down to near zero, although leaf tips can get burned at those temperatures. Duration is also important - this is cold weather but it's short lived and will be over tomorrow.

The only time I've straight lost common spring bulb FOLIAGE (not just blooms dying or falling over) to freezing was in 1992. A week of temps in the 70s in early March brought early tulips, crocuses, and daffodils into bloom by March 8 or so. Then we dropped to NINE degrees a week later (& below freezing for over a week) and that killed them to the ground. They were all a foot tall or more by this time.

The crocuses and daffodils did send up new foliage, from below ground level, but did not bloom, although bloomed normally the following year.

The tulips never did, however, and that batch of bulbs never recovered.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:47AM
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