My wife ordered some bulbs yesterday. So, is now a good time to plant these? Any tips for me on preparing a good bed? Do I need to mulch the bed over the winter?
Tulips in zone 8? This is quite questionable my friend as to whether or not you will be able to get them to bloom or whether or not you can do so consistantly. I have serious doudts as to whether or not it gets cold wnough for a long enough period of time. Have you considered "forcing"? There is some really good information at the link below as well as a pretty good newsletter that covers a little bit of everything and you can ask a professional your questions to.
Here is a link that might be useful: Garde Resources
My garden refrigerator has 250 tulips in it at the moment. Ten weeks refrigerator treatment works fine. I plant mine in the first week of December, a mix of early, mid season and late bloomers and they will all bloom by April. If you want to save them for next year you will have to leave them die back, then dig them, store in a cool place until September, when they will need to be refrigerated again. In my experience only about a third are big enough to bloom the second year. Al
calistoga-I'm sure it can be done here, I've seen beautiful tulips in several yards here every spring. Thanks for the advice. I'll stick them in the refrigerator until late Nov.
Why is only 1/3 large enough to plant again, do they shrink?
My first time with tulips.
Van Engelen sent me a catalog and I'm drooling. But I will only order Darwin tulips in hopes of some naturalizing happening. A fellow nearby has red Darwins every year for over 8 years now. He has wonderful soil and leaves them in the ground where they split, grow a couple of years, bloom, split again and so on.
alan8 some will split and so will not be large enough to bloom the next year. If you want to replant the splits you can grow them another year and maybe they will be large enough to save for the next year. For the price of the tulips it is not worth the effort. This year I paid $12 for each bag of 60 tulips all of which will bloom, most will be from 24 to 30 inches high. I only replant tulips with a circumference of 12 CM or more. Most of the purchased tulips are 14 CM, but I have found that 12CM will bloom reliably. If you are using your regular refrigerator be aware that fresh fruit stored in the same refrigerator gives off Etheline gas which is likely to cause the tulips when planted to not bloom. Al
It depends where in zone 8 one is located as to how easy it is to grow spring flowering bulbs without prechilling. Not all zone 8's are similar in climate, with some offering much hotter and humid summers and others with uniformly mild temperatures. In the South, prechilling many spring flowering bubls is a given, however it is unnecessary to prechill in a PNW zone 8. The largest commercial tulip growing fields outside of the Netherlands are located in the Skagit Valley, Washington state, which is a firm zone 8. Fall planted bulbs of all varieties bloom here reliably each spring without any sort of prechilling.
Tulips are a joy to grow here in the very dry hot summer area mostly famous for wine. They grow during the wet winter when no irrigation is required, and they bloom and are gone before the weather heats up. I under plant my roses with tulips and they bloom and are gone before the roses bloom. Absolutely effortless growing with no watering, spraying or fertilizing. Al
Gardengal is right, Which zone 8 the OP is in makes a huge difference.
Huge commercial tulip growers in the Portland OR area too. Glad I don't have to prechill. Folks in the South can buy prechilled bulbs from some sources but they cost more.
Wish USDA zones took summer temps into account, not just winter lows.
With pre-chilling my tulips and hyacinths will CONSISTANTLY bloom well. Most others will not need it. I've never had any problems with blooming in Z8.
Same here. I'm in Southern Utah with long hot summers and short cool winters and my daffodils and hyacinths bloom beautifully every spring. I don't dig them up and chill them.
Im confused though. I'm fairly new to bulbs. Are you saying that you dig them up EVERY fall and chill them artificially?! Or just the FIRST time before you plant them?
Last year I put all mine (tulip bulbs) into the bins at the bottom of the frig separating them from fruit on Sept 19. Took them all out, & planted all of them Dec 25.
They came up very fast and bloomed in coldest part of winter (here in Charleston SC,,I guess that wasn't very cold for tulips though)
The best daffs have always been the Tazettas where I live. Still I put some others into the ground this year. I like a variety. So far, some from last year are peeking out of the soil, but I guess those are probably the Tazettas. I hope the other daffs from last year will bloom again.