Very cheap bulbs + 9 inches of snow on ground...

sleepy33(5b KS)December 29, 2009

Hi all. I realize this is a topic that has been hashed about in one way or another many times on this forum, so please forgive me bringing it up again. I got some $2.50 bags of bulbs at Walmart the other day; allium, some tulips, hyacinth. I'm mostly interested in the allium as they are usually so pricey and I love them. Anyway, I understand that the bulbs need to root, and I'm wondering this: is rooting affected by temperature, or is it just that the frozen ground becomes too hard for the roots to penetrate? Meaning, would I be better off to start them in a large container in the basement, where they wouldn't be subjected to freezing soil/temperatures? And if so, could they be very delicately transplanted into the ground when things thaw a bit? Or, if I was able to chisel out some holes in the frozen dirt, and perhaps fill in with some un-frozen topsoil, could the bulbs then root into that, or at a certain temperature will it just be too cold for the bulbs to grow roots? Thanks in advance!!

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Oh, sleepy33! I guess I can now admit that I, too, gave in to the you-really-are-too-late sales and bought the Holland Bulb Farm's "Ultimate Fall Variety Pack" (14+ packs of random bulbs) the same week we had I am treating my tulips and similarly sized bulbs like we were in CA-- straight in the fridge in ventilated bags. The minor bulbs I am potting up and sticking in the fridge as I figure they need... Oh, I don't know, it just seems like a good idea.

Anyway, as a fellow bulb addict, my suggestion would be, if the ground under that snow is workable, plant them outside. If you area is like mine, pot them up and keep them somewhere cool-- under 45 but NOT freezing. That's the part I have trouble with. No where cool enough that will not freeze, so the fridge seemed the solution. I think others will tell you that if you can't get them in the ground, pots are best. I'm happy to continue with my delusions, besides the whole box only cost me $26 shipped, so I will not be out too much if reality hits.

Here is a link that might be useful: Don't even look at the 'Ultimate Fall Variety Pack'!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 4:02PM
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sleepy33(5b KS)

Oh, you cheap bulb enabler!! :) I cannot resist a deal. Ok, I will see what power tools I can bust out to try and chisel into the ground. Otherwise, I think containers in my basement would stay cold but not frozen. Thanks for the advice! And not so much for the Ultimate Fall Variety Pack link. :)

    Bookmark   December 30, 2009 at 9:36PM
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I said DON'T look at the link! Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 11:29AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I am NOT the expert in thisÂbut I do know that some bulbs require a period of making roots before temperatures dip into the freezing zone. I donÂt know which ones these are, but searching here with the right keys words might turn it up.

I DO know that I planted some daffodils 2 years ago by chiseling holes in frozen ground on Dec 30th and backfilling with a fresh bag of topsoil: and those did NOT grow. (well, out of 50 planted, maybe 3 grew: and not well)So at least those are on my personal list of bulbs that need rooting time before planting.

I have not tempted fate personally with alliums or tulips yet: I have planted late, but not THAT late.

I know the feeling: after all of mine were safely planted, I went out to buy something for forcing. ItÂs candy, after all, and IÂm a chocoholic. I have hyacinths potted up in the garage waiting until I can bring them in. I have never forced and my odds of success are low. But I did it anyway.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 12:16PM
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Hi All,

I'm smiling a big smile after reading this thread. I did the same thing... bought the $2.50 bags from WalMart. I'm getting ready to start some seeds in my basement greenhouse and was looking for soil. I didn't find soil but I did find the bulbs! :)

I'm going to force them (mostly tulips), which is what brough me here today. I am looking for information on forcing. I'm hoping to put the bulbs in my greenhouse this winter and bring them to flower in the early spring then plant them in the planter boxes and window boxes. Not sure how all of this is going to work, but for the price, it's a great experiment :)

Take care,

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 6:29PM
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Luv 2 garden I just curious what type of bulds and how many bulbs are in the bag that you got from Walmart

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 9:22PM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

Check out the FAQ page at the top of this forum for info on forcing bulbs.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 6:40PM
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sleepy33(5b KS)

Hey all, I hadn't seen any of these responses, I apologize; if there's a way to get email notification of posts on this forum, I can't figure it out!! Anyway, I'm just back in the house from finally getting my cheapo sale bulbs planted. It's been up in the 40's and 50's for a couple days, and supposed to get cold again tomorrow (I'm in Kansas). Anyway, the ground was really very workable! Some of the allium bulbs looked a bit rotted when I got the bags open, so I only planted the ones that still looked good. The tulips were already starting to sprout, so at least I know they were alive when I put them in the ground! Did some anemone as well. So I guess we'll see! Luv_2_garden, I think we are gardening twins or something, with our sale bulbs and begonias! :) Maybe you could start your tulip bulbs in plastic pots that you could then just set into the planters and windowboxes, so you wouldn't have to worry about disturbing them after they sprouted?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 4:23PM
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For tulip bulbs - if the bulbs are not already sprouting, I'd refrigerate them then plant them in early spring. They don't have to be planted after last frost because they will stay unfrozen since you are planting them deep. They may be late compared to other tulips but should otherwise perform fine. This probably would be fine for hyacinth bulbs as well, but I have less experience with those - I planted mine too early in fall and they are sprouting _now_. x_X I can see them every time the snow melts.

I was tempted by the cheap bulbs at my local Lowes but they were sprouting, so I would have had to plant them immediately, and I didn't have enough basement growing space left to force more bulbs.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 1:39AM
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So nice to know I'm not alone with the Lowe's bulb shopping! There was no way I could get the bulbs in the ground this Fall with all the rain. My beds were just soupy mud and then BOOM, everything froze. Now we have 28" of snow and maybe another foot coming tomorrow! I hate to waste the bulbs, and am wondering if I can still put them in containers in my basement.

I have two varieties of Allium bulbs and some Grecian Windflower corms. Can I still try to pot them? They have been in a paper bag in my basement since September and look exactly the same as they did the day I bought them. I would love to be able to get them going, but I don't know when or how to get started.

Help please?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 3:07PM
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sleepy33(5b KS)

Yikes! What kind of zone 7b are you in with that much snow?? :) Have you actually tried to get into your dirt outside? I was shocked at how warm and easy to dig it was, and we've had record low temps and snow here in Kansas. Snow actually is supposed to insulate the ground. If that's a no go, then I guess containers are your only option? I'd keep them in your basement until the hard freezing is done, though, because I think the containers freeze much harder outside than the ground. I know my dirt outside was super warm a few inches down. Anyway, good luck!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 4:34PM
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