handle tulip bulbs after blooming

charleshx(10b)July 9, 2013

I planted tulips in the spring, they bloomed beautifully but flowers will be gone in a week or two completely. I browsed the forum and wound up with totally opposite advises, from just leave them in the ground to dig them up and store them in the frig for the winter (whatever that is with lowest temp. of 48 F). We live 2 blocks from the Pac ocean about 60 miles north of San Diego. I think that no zone number can apply, we have a "microclimate". Even today "June gloom" is proper, couple of hours of straight sunshine in the early afternoon, cloudy, muggy, relatively cool for the rest of the day. Anyhow, questions: 1. What should I do with the tulip bulbs? 2. I dig them up or not, the next 9 month will leave the ground barren, can I plant some annuals for a quick bloom and if so what would be the best choice (see climate)? Would I hurt the bulbs left in the soil? Awaiting and thank you for your reply.

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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

In your zone the bulbs will need to be chilled to bloom properly next season. You will need to dig them after the foliage has yellowed, clean and dry them well to prevent mold. Store them in an airy cool dry area until about September first. Put them in a refrigerator with a temperature from 35 to 45, with no fresh fruit stored in the same refrigerator. About the middle of December they should be replanted in the garden. I went through this routine for about 3 or 4 years, before deciding that the cheap cost of buying new bulbs, when they become available, about the first of September and just throwing the bags in the refrigerator, (one without fresh fruit) was the way to go. At least 30% of your saved bulbs will be splits and not sized enough to bloom anyway. You still have plenty of season left if you buy a flat or two of summer bedding plants at your local nursery to fill the area you removed the tulip bulbs from. Al

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 9:47AM
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Thank you Al. It seems that dig them up and discard them is the way to go. Problem: In the past I had bad luck, the purchased bulbs produced inferior flowers. I was told that many bulbs on the market are just "old" not fresh enough. Is that true? The recent bulbs were bought in Cosco (of all places) in the middle of spring and grew and produced beautiful flowers in 3 months. Where can I find reputable sellers and how to check that bulbs are fresh? Charles.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 2:29PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I regularly buy tulip bulbs at Costco, but in September, not late in the season when they are not usually in very good condition. Al

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 9:44AM
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