Need help about when to plant bulbs

lexiegurl09November 21, 2011

Hi everyone. This is my first year planting bulbs and I have numerous types of tulip bulbs and some hyacinth bulbs from last year (I know they may not bloom as well) but I am confused about when to plant them. I just got them within the past week and have more on the way. I now realize from what I understand that these bulbs need to be prechilled in the refrigerator. How long do they need to be prechilled? 8 weeks? That would put me planting them in the third week of January. Is this too late? Would 6 weeks be better? But then at the same time, I also read that if you plant them out too soon after precooling, they may bloom too early and get damaged by any strange weather (very cold or hot periods), and if you plant them too late it will get too hot to allow them to bloom properly. So my question is what should I do? When should I plant them and how long should they stay precooled? I have them in the refrigerator as of today (with no fruits or veggies) and will put the other ones in once I get them. Thank You for all the help!!!

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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Relax. It's not that hard. The tulip bulbs need 8 to 10 weeks of chill in the fridge. Be sure to keep all fruit in a drawer by itself and the tulips in another place in the fridge. Planting in Mid to late January will be fine. The tulips will bloom right on schedule. I do like to order early blooming tulips since I have found that the blooms last longer in cooler weather; however, the Darwins do very well here as long as the temperatures don't rise beyond eighty for too long.

I have never pre-chilled hyacinths. They do just fine in the ground here from year to year, though the blooms are not as large after the first year. I believe this is normal and not because I don't dig, chill, and replant each year.

FYI, I plant tulips as annuals. As soon as they finish blooming, I just pull them out and throw them away. The foliage will return year after year for many years, but you'll only get about ten percent of them to rebloom and the blooms are dramatically smaller. Just for your comparison, I live in east central Mississippi, about 200 miles north of the Gulf Coast.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 1:21PM
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