Tulips in South?

mikescApril 6, 2010

I am seeing many tulips this year in Myrtle Beach, SC; however, I know that they won't overwinter here (or anywhere else in SC that I'm aware of).

Can one plant the tulips and harvest and refrigerate the bulbs in fall?

Any advice welcomed.

Mike

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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Actually, the problem isn't that our winter is too cold. It's that our winters aren't cold enough long enough.

I buy tulip bulbs in the fall and put them into a little dorm refrigerator in my garage for l0 weeks. (I mark my calendar for ten weeks hence so I know when to plant.) Then I dig them in outside in areas that I have marked off in the fall before my perennials go to sleep. (This way I don't dig up something that I wanted to keep.) They come up and bloom in the spring. Once the blooms shatter, I dig them up and compost them.

Tulips will return year after year. They will multiply. But they will rarely ever bloom again. (Like 1 out of 20 or so.) Therefore, I treat them like annuals. Color at this time of year is worth it to me.

BTW, I chill them in their own fridge because the kitchen one always has fruit in it. The gas the fruit emits can (and ususally does) kill some or all of the blooms in the bulbs. I also use the little fridge to cold stratify seeds and to store seeds that I am saving. It keeps my kitchen fridge cleaner and less crowded.

To my knowledge, the only area in the U.S. that raises bulbs for sale is in the Pacific Northwest.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 4:22PM
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chellflower(8b)

Mike,
Try leaving them in pots outside year-round..they should get plenty of cold that way. I'm in zone 8, Texas.....I recieved bulbs via mail order in late February but left them in the box for a few weeks (was too busy working to plant them) I finally planted them in black landscaper's pots mid-march. We only got a couple more spells of freezing temps, but as of last week I have blooms on my double earlys and my parrot tulips...even in these 80+ temps!
If you DO decide to plant them in-ground, you may want to wait till Fall to do that since temps are high already, and then don't insulate with any mulch (especially if your winters are wet like ours).

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 10:18PM
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mikesc

Thanks so much!

I misused the word "overwintering'--I did indeed mean that the winters weren't cold enough!

I appreciate your feedback!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 12:04PM
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cynthianovak

chellflower
remember that this was an unusual winter for us. We get cold enough, but those rare warm days in Jan and Feb are what gets our tulips confused. We didn't have those this year. Have you had success with NOT prechilling in other years?

c

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 2:30PM
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