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Chilling tulip bulbs in refrigerator at 40 degrees, is this ok?

Posted by ocbrian2 z9/sunset 22/orange (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 4, 12 at 21:48

For the last couple of years I have been buying tulip bulbs and chilling them in my garage refrigerator for 8-10 weeks and then planting them in the ground in January for them to bloom. Well I just noticed that my refrigerator isn't as cold as it normally is, the temperature was at 40 degrees when I tested it. My bulbs are suppose to come out for planting in two weeks and I'm afraid that they didn't get enough chill. I saw in another posting someone saying that the temperature needs to be at 35 degrees. Do you think my bulbs will still bloom? I have like 500 tulip bulbs to plant and I hope it wasn't all for nothing. Thanks in advance!


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Chilling tulip bulbs in refrigerator at 40 degrees, is this o

Thats cold enough. I always plant mine in the first week of December so they bloom before my roses. I start chilling the first week of September. Al

RE: Chilling tulip bulbs in refrigerator at 40 degrees, is this o

Thanks for the reassurance Al. I always wait till Van Engelen have their huge sale to buy bulbs, which they were late this year due to the halloween snowfall back east. I like to have mine bloom around March, when it is actually spring since I wish we had more of different seasons in California. Thanks!


RE: Chilling tulip bulbs in refrigerator at 40 degrees, is this o

40 is perfectly fine -- really anything between 32 and 45 works.

It's a myth that inadequate chilling prevents bulbs from blooming -- it doesn't, because the flower is already fully formed down in the heart of the bulb by the time its dug from the field in Holland. What chilling affects is stem length and size -- a bulb that isn't properly chilled will have extremely short stems and possibly smaller flowers.

RE: Chilling tulip bulbs in refrigerator at 40 degrees, is this o

^That idea is interesting, because once I forced tulips in the kitchen in several pots and the flowers were dwarfed; they were supposed to be about 16 inches tall and were coming out about 6 inches tall, not only short but also with miniature penny-sized flowers. I put one of the pots outside during a chilly March week and within days in the cold, the flowers, stems and leaves enlarged to a typical tulip size. The ones that stayed in the house remained miniature.

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