Tulip Bulbs Given as Christmas Gift - Please Help

amck2April 17, 2010

My son & DIL gave me a gift of tulip bulbs at Christmas and I want to do my best with them.

I live in NH, so obviously could not get them in the ground in late December. I've kept them in a dark place till now, and am wondering if I can plant them in a container for this year & then find a permanent home for them after they bloom.

Some questions:

Is it too late for this year? We've actually had some days in the '80's, but today it is snowing outside...New England.

I would love to give them a permanent home at our lakehouse, but it is in a wooded area w/ lots of wildlife. Do tulip bulbs stand a chance in this environment?

If I plant in a container, can I pull the bulbs up after the greens wilt and keep them as container plants from year to year, or will they not survive that well?

Thanks for any help you can give me. The choice of their gift at this time is very meaningful to me, and I don't want to lose them.

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Ouch. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news... Unless the place where you stored them was quite cold, tulips will not flower without 2-3 months of refrigeration or winter temperatures before planting.

Tulips will probably get eaten if planted in an area with deer and rabbits.

Tulips do not naturally flower every year. Depending on the type, you may get flowers for two or three years, but they do not flower when the bulbs are dividing, which naturally happens every few years. Purchased tulip bulbs are synchronized, such that almost all will flower the first year, but then almost none will flower the third year. Perennialized tulips are ones which have gotten out of sync, with the result that about 30% flower every year.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 6:15PM
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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

I would put them in the ground now.

It would give them the best chance.

They won't do anything this year but hopefully the will come up for you in the Sping. Forced bulbs are very weak so no guarentee, but it is worth a shot.

Keeping them in a container would be risky as well because they need a cool period as mentioned before and it is a fine line with bulb rot.

Good Luck

Happy Gardening


    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 6:32PM
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Thanks for the prompt responses. I thought it might be too late for this year and your answers confirmed that.

I'm disappointed that the bulbs won't stand a chance with the wildlife here, but I suspected that might be the case. Thought maybe there was a way to work around that with a deer resistant product that I'd never heard of.

The one thing I'm not clear on is whether I could put them in the fridge for 2 months before planting in a container (for next yr.) then take them out and keep them in the cool dark basement until 2 months in the fridge before putting them in the container the following spring. This, as opposed to keeping them in a container throughout the year. I would be happy to be able to look forward to having them come up each spring in a container on my porch, though my preference would have been to take the easier route and just plant them outdoors.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 7:53PM
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One year I got some tulips to late to plant the ground had frozen over so I stored in the fridge until early March. I planted them and they did bloom, a little later then the others.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 5:01AM
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