Need some expert advice

velsgarden(TN 7)March 23, 2009

I just bought a bunch of tulips and daffodils on clerance to plant for next year.I was planning to plant them out today,but we are supposed to have heavy rains for the next four days.Will this cause them to rot?Should I wait until drier weather weather to plant.I really need help as I dont have much experience with bulbs.Thanks

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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I hate these kind of questions because I don't like to be the bearer of bad news...

Are the bulbs still firm? If they are soft, hollow, mushy, etc., they are a total loss. Chances are that at least some of them will be in this condition, possibly all. As for the rest, the chances of them surviving are iffy at best. If you want to try to salvage them, go ahead and plant them. I don't see how a good rain will hurt them at this point. On the other hand, do not plant them somewhere that they will stay wet alot of the time through the summer, either from rain, or from sprinklers. You have a better chance of the daffodils making it, though it's unlikely you'll see any blooms for two years, (if ever). Tulips do sometimes return as far north as you are for two to four years (under ideal conditions). Since you bought them, it won't hurt to plant them and try, but again, don't expect blooms next year.

Contrary to appearances, bulbs, when they first appear in the stores, are NOT dead. They are very much alive, only dormant. Yes, they can stay alive out of the ground for quite some time, but NOT indefinitely. Your bulbs are very near, if not over, the line between dormancy and dead.

A word of experienced advice: from now on, scrimp on your gardening budget somewhere else. Bulbs are something that are worth paying full price for and planting at the proper time, especially tulips.

They will become available again next year in the early fall. By the time you see them, you should have decided where you want to plant them, and have the soil prepared. (Adhereing to these two requirements will cut down on wasteful impulse purchases.) Resolve to purchase them as soon as they appear in stores, plant them right away, and prepare to enjoy them for many years to come.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 5:07PM
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I'm new to bulbs, as my first plantings were done last Nov and the rest in early February as I ran out of time.

Wondering if it would be more feasible for you to pot them up and store them in your basement / cool dry area until fall planting time? That way, you can regulate how much water they will get in the interim and won't have to worry so much about them rotting, and at least you'll get them in soil.

Can anyone comment?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 10:51PM
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They either grow or die. There is no way to put them into a state of suspended growth, like a coma till a better planting time arrives. Donnabaskets has given excellent advice. Al

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 8:13AM
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