Bulb containers in rain

gunsrdNovember 19, 2013

I have planted some tulips and hyacinths in containers. I keep them out during the day for sun, and move them into the garage during night so that they don't get chilly. What is the recommendation when it starts raining during the day? Can I still leave them outdoors?

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Is there a specific reason why you don't want them to get chilly? I may not know how they're grown in CA but in NY, we leave them planted all winter outside; be it in containers or the ground. And yes, as long as the containers have proper drainage, rain is just fine for them. May be someone else would come along with more info.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 10:18AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

I agree with surya55 - your bulbs actually NEED a chill. They stay outside all winter here too. These are not tropical plants. Rain, snow, whatever.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 5:23PM
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I had read online to keep it in an unheated garage in harsh winter places or else they will freeze solid. I will take your recommendation and leave it outside. It is one less thing to worry about for me :).

Thank you!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 12:54AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

The key word is 'harsh'. Rain doesn't qualify as 'harsh'. Is a pot of soil likely to freeze solid in your zone? My pots may freeze very occasionally during the winter here but the main damage is to the terracotta, not the bulbs. If surya55 can leave hers out in NY z7 I should think yours will be fine in CA z9

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 4:35AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

gunsrd your first post indicated you were in zone 9 CA. Your second posting showed no zone and mentioned HARSH winters. Which is it? Al

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 10:12AM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

If you are in zone 9 then it is unlikely that your winter will be harsh. Your pots can freeze solid overnight and they will have thawed by lunchtime - and your hardy bulbs won't mind at all.

All your spring bulbs will be actively growing over the winter months. They need the rain. Leave them outside.

You can even leave such plants as Gloriosa, Freesia, and tuberous begonias, outside over a zone 9 winter and be at least 80% sure they'll be back for the following season.

So long as your pots aren't 'skimpy small' and there is plenty of room for the huge quantity of roots these bulbs make over the winter then they won't need your TLC. You can use your precious no frost space for the truly tender.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2013 at 12:30AM
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Thank you everyone for your replies.

I am in the San Francisco bay area, and we almost never get any snow, and the lows I have seen are in the 30s F. I don't think the temps qualify as harsh :).

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 5:33PM
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Need2SeeGreen(10 (SoCal))

Will be interesting to see if we get much rain this year.

You might want to make sure about your drainage -- I wouldn't use saucers with these pots, and I put mine up on rocks (cheaper than buying those "feet"). You don't want them sitting in water, imo.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 7:44PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I have hundreds of potted bulbs out in the rain, averaging up to 30 inches, during the rainy winter. For most of them , even with good potting soil, I will need to repot into new mix at least every two years. Frosts into the low twenties are to be expected and do them no harm. My potted freesias are just about ready to send up blooming stems. Al

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 4:36PM
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