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When to plant bulbs...

Posted by flower_addict88 7A NC (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 30, 09 at 13:50

Hello everyone,

I live in Zone 7A in North Carolina. I have been recieving mixed messages on when to plant my bulbs. Last spring I only bought from Wal Mart some tulips and hyacinths that were already up. This year I bought a lot of bulbs.

This is what I have:

Daffodils (10 each)
Ice King
Blonde Beauty
Flower Drift
Winston Churchill
The above are all double varities.
20 of Jetfire Daffodil

Hyacinths (15 various)

Grape Hyacinths (60 normal variety)

Crocus (60 early/snow variety)

a ton of tulips from the Darwin hybrids, parrots, doubles, etc. Pretty much all types 150-200 tulips.

So when do I plant these? Are there different times for daffodils vs tulips etc.?

We have been in mid to lower 70's during the day and at night 50's to the upper 40's. Who knows if that will last though..It may get warmer all of a sudden who knows


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: When to plant bulbs...

Although you are further north than I am, I suspect it's still a bit early to plant bulbs. The GROUND needs to cool down some, and although our daytime highs have dropped, the ground is still very warm. Typically in my area, we don't start planting bulbs until late October. I would advise you to wait at least until mid October.

You do know that you need to chill your tulips in your refrigerator for 8 to 10 weeks, right?

chilling I was NOT aware

Even though I am farther north than you in North Carolina, zone 7A. Do they still have to be chilled?

Are tulips the only bulbs or are there other bulbs?

Thank you,

RE: When to plant bulbs...

Per the info at the link below:
For a start, you need to be in zone 7 or colder. (Gardeners in warmer zones can grow tulips as annuals, but youll need to chill them in the refrigerator for 8 weeks before planting.)

You should not have to prechill them according to the link info.


Here is a link that might be useful: Old House Gardens bulb planting info

found my answer

While I was trying to find the answer to my question about tulips needing to be chilled in my zone I stumbled across this book. This was my second day searching trying to find my answer. This book has excerpts of some pages to view online. This book is great!

It is The Carolinas Gardeners Guide by Toby Bost and Jim Wilson.

The link is:

BTW I figured out the answer to my quesion on tulips. It said to plant them between the first frost and Thanksgiving.


RE: When to plant bulbs...

Danielle, if you are a reader, you should get a copy of "Garden Bulbs for the South" by Scott Ogden. He will introduce you to many bulbs that you have probably never seen or heard of, and will guide you in selecting the right varieties for your area. (And yes, there are MANY beautiful bulbs more than tulips. It's just that we successfully grow different varieties here than up north.)

This is just my opinion, but I would definitely advise you to chill your tulip bulbs. The last several years, we have nearly all been running a zone warmer during our winters, which would put you in zone 8. If you want blooms, don't risk it. There's no way to know what kind of winter we will have. If it's too warm, you'll be out of luck.

Put your tulip bulbs in an airy bag (anything but plastic) in the coolest part of your fridge (for me, that's the meat drawer). Take care not to store them in the same drawer with any fruit, as fruit gives off an enzyme that will kill the blooms. Mark your calendar for 10 weeks out and plant your bulbs on that date (or within a week or so). I promise you it will not hurt your bulbs or slow down their bloom time.

Good luck! Donna

RE: When to plant bulbs...

An airy bag?

They were shipped in small plastic bags with holes all in the bags. Would that work?

I dont know what type of airy bag to use other than plastic.

I have about 20 different varities so that is a lot of different bags. I cant put them all in one bag.

Isnt the end of November/early Dec too late to be working in the soil? Isnt it frozen?

RE: When to plant bulbs...

In NC, you don't need to chill tulips before planting. I have grown them here several years and they bloom just fine with no chilling. Just realize that most tulips are one season plants here as the summers are too hot for them to rebloom in subsequent years. I have been told that species tulips will rebloom here but haven't ever grown any here yet! ;)

I have planted daffodil bulbs as late as the day after Christmas (got them at an after Christmas sale for a steal). The ground rarely freezes here in NC by late November/early December depending of course where you live in NC. Some parts of the western mountains may have frozen soil but the rest of the state shouldn't have frozen soil by that time--in fact, the last few winters have been so mild in most parts of the state that it hasn't frozen at all.

RE: When to plant bulbs...

I didnt think that they had to be chilled. In fact the co-op page says that they dont have to. I emailed a garden represenative for my area to double check. Also, the NC State University spring bulb site says that tulips dont have to be pre-chilled.

If I dig up my tulips when they are done flowering and the foliage dies down. Will that help them last for another spring?

If digging them up would help, how should I store them until planting time again?

I have several expensive varities that I don't want to lose.


RE: When to plant bulbs...

Not sure Danielle whether digging them up and storing them in any special fashion will allow them to reflower the next year. You might wnat to recontact the NC State University site or your local agricultural extension agency and ask them. I seriously doubt that this can be done to get the tulips to rebloom but you will never know if you don't ask. :)

RE: When to plant bulbs...

An airy bag is a bag that allows air to circulate. Certainly the plastic bag full of holes they were shipped in qualifies. Sorry:)

If your extension service says don't chill, then don't. They know your climate far better than I do. Gardenman is right about trying to get a second year of bloom from them. Digging them up won't help. You can certainly leave them in the ground and see what they do. In my area, the foliage will return faithfully for years, and you might see one bloom out of ten, but mostly you won't see any. My parents live in northeast TEnnessee and their tulips will bloom two or three years before they poop out. Alot of gardening is experimentation. That's the only way to learn some of the fine specifics of your climate.

RE: When to plant bulbs...

Waaaahhhhh :(

I simply love tulips...I guess I will just try to find ones that will bloom for at least 3 years. It isnt spring without them to me.


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