Help this total newbie with sprouting tulip bulbs!!

karen726March 6, 2009

Hello there, folks. This is the first time I have worked up my nerve to ask a question on this or any forum, but it is in a good cause! My husband brought home leftover tulip bulbs from his job around December (they were new, not dug up) and the ground was frozen when I noticed them in the garage. Well, I am a TOTAL newbie to bulbs but my husband loves them, so I searched all over the Internet to find an answer (and found one, which was to "Pot them up!"). As best I could I potted them with a lot of soil (I buried them around six inches deep because that is what I read on a bulb site). I then put the pots in an unheated back room in my house (ranging from 42 - 52 degrees F). Well, it is March 6, and they are just ready to break the soil. They look thick and strong, so I know at least I didn't kill them.

Question: I live in Zone 6 (border of a/b) in SE Pennsylvania. At what point should I put them outside, or can I even do that now? I guess I mean what temps can they now survive having lived for almost three months in the conditions I described above. I think they are about right on schedule for blooming sort of "normally" (as if they had been living through a fairly cold, but not freezing, winter) - Pinocchio (March to April) and China Pink (April to May), according to the Internet.

I know very little about water/sun/heat requirements. I am not even a fan of bulbs, but I wanted to do this for my husband and I think I am now starting to love them. Sorry for my lack of knowledge - I think I redefine the word "Newbie!" Thanks for any thoughts.

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Hello, You did the right thing planting potting them up and putting them in the unheated room! I have some tulips wintering in the Fridge right now. To answer you question, is the ground unthawed outside? Are tulips coming up in your area outside? if this is happening then I would say it is the right time to plant outside. Tulips can take some freezing temperatures, Especially when there young, because they are spring flowers. If your ground is unthawed and you know tulips are sprouting in your area, I would go ahead and play the entire pot in the ground ( pot and all ) and just fill the dirt like up to the rim, because Tulips don't really like having there roots disturbed then After the yellow, I would take them out of the pot and pot them in the ground.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 11:21AM
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Thanks so much! I had been wondering how to protect them if I put the pots outside because I guess they will be needing sun soon when they pop through. You're right, I didn't want to try to transplant them and disturb the roots. I hadn't thought of planting the whole pots - great idea. We're having a fairly warm weekend (but some cold temps are on the way again), so I should be able to dig the holes. I really appreciate your answer since I know NOTHING about bulbs but the pics on the Internet of these are really pretty & I wanted to save them. Have a wonderful weekend!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 3:15PM
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