Can I trick tulip bulbs? The ground is frozen!

gardener_guy(6)December 19, 2010

I started to get the ground prepared for planting tulip bulbs in mid november. Then the first of many snow storms came in. The ground froze and ever since I couldn't plant the bulbs. There has been snow on the ground. I am in zone 6b.

I had this idea to trick the bulbs into thinking they were in the ground by planting them into containers. Then I wanted to plant them in the spring once they have just started to grow.

Does anyone have any ideas on this or how to do it? I would appreciate the advice.


Gardener Guy

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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I have not tried it but see no reason it would not work. Al

    Bookmark   December 20, 2010 at 9:05AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

I had this idea to trick the bulbs into thinking they were in the ground by planting them into containers. Then I wanted to plant them in the spring once they have just started to grow.
Where did you have in mind to store these containers? If storing them outside in freezing temps, I'd be afraid the bulbs would freeze before having a chance to root themselves in. I'm thinking that if they did not root in, that they would freeze and rot, just as if they had been left laying on top of the ground.
If they are planted and the containers stored in an area that is too warm, they may root in and start to grow and emerge long before the soil is workable outside, though it does help that you have the planting area all prepped.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2010 at 10:41AM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

If you use a pail or container that takes about 2 gallons (10L) of potting mix with NO water crystals AND some added grit - and has useful drain holes in the bottom (at least as round as your thumb and 4-5 of them) - then you plant your bulbs about four inches deep and cover them as usual.

As far as I can tell, the bulbs don't mind the ground/mix freezing overnight and into the next morning. They will still rise and shine. I've done this with species tulips, early doubles, darwins, and parrots over two or more years.

If you have a site that is mostly unfrozen but still chilly - between -5C and about 10C they'll probably prosper. Just, not prolonged freezing over several days or weeks (eek!). (They might. Wouldn't say they couldn't. But I don't actually know that. :-)) )

    Bookmark   December 21, 2010 at 1:03AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Here in my zone, where the ground never freezes, we buy tulips in late fall and then put them into a refrigerator for 8 to 10 weeks (NOT with fruit. Ethylene gas will kill the blooms.). Then plant them in the ground in early to mid January, or even later. It seems to me you could do the same. Put them into the fridge now, and mark your calendar for eight to 12 weeks out. THEN, either pot them up, or, if your ground is not frozen then, put them in the ground. They won't be returning next year anyway, so make some spectacular pots, at least.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2010 at 6:39PM
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My tulips return every year? I think there is more trouble for them in places like your area where there isn't enough cold for them to live happily so they diminish, here Tulips do very well and some abandoned sites have tons of them and it's so beautiful to see in spring ;)

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 9:54PM
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