GeorgiaGirl
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Bulbs: Explain it to me like I'm in kindergarten....

I've been dying all year to plant spring bulbs, and for the last few weeks, I've been filling an online shopping cart from Breck's with all kinds of beautiful bulbs.

Today, though, I was in Costco buying mundane stuff like toilet tissue and saw they have spring bulbs in.

Ohhhh, some of them were so BEAUTIFUL I couldn't resist!! I ended up buying... um... over 300 bulbs (yipes!)... crocus, hyacinth, and three types of tulip (they were too beautiful to narrow down to one or two!)... but it's too early to plant them, right? Should I refrigerate them then plant later in the month? or is it okay to plant them now?

I'm a total bulb newbie but am drooling at the thought of having a yard full of gorgeous spring flowers, for the first time in my life... BUT!!!! I always hear about people having to dig them up every year etc. That completely intimidates me because I have no idea how I'd even find the 300+ bulbs I'll be planting.

What types of bulbs do I need to dig/refrigerate every year? and when? I'm in zone 7b and we do get very cold winters (although it could be 25 degrees one day then 70 the next during winter).
Last edited by GeorgiaGirl on Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
Julia in Georgia

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Kisal
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Julia, JMO, of course, but I think your question is so broad and sweeping that it may deter people from posting responses. There are many, many different types of bulbs, and each requires different handling.

Why not repost your question, asking about just one type of bulb at a time? I think you'll get better and more explicit information that way. We can discuss the needs of different types of tulips in one thread, for instance, the needs of the various types of crocuses in another thread, and so on. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

GeorgiaGirl
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Location: Metro Atlanta, GA (zone 7)

A separate thread of each of the three bulbs I bought... sure, I can do that... I guess I was thinking (wrongly?) that whether to dig bulbs was more related to the zone rather than the type of bulb, but obviously I was wrong about that!

Honestly, I will just keep Googling rather than clutter the board with three more threads. Surely the information is out there if I can only hit upon the correct search terms......
Julia in Georgia

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Kisal
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Well, I haven't ever gardened in GA, but here in OR, I have to dig tulips and store them over the winter, if I want more than one or two seasons of blooms from them. I'm told that's because it rarely stays cold enough for a long enough time here. But my hyacinths and daffodils do just fine left in the ground year round, as do my crocus.

Have you used the search box to find past threads regarding the various bulb plants? I remember one, in particular, about tulips that was quite enlightening. If you want to try that, just type the name of the type of bulb in the search box on the upper left of most of the forum pages, then click the button marked 'Search'. :)

Here's a link to the particular tulip thread I was thinking about:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16255
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

GeorgiaGirl
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See, now that's helpful to know... I suspect tulips would need to be dug here too, since winters here can be cold for days or weeks but then we'll have moderate or even warm spells.

Thank you for that thread -- in all my searches so far I had somehow missed that one! Off to read the entire thing... thank you again!
Julia in Georgia

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rainbowgardener
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spring bulbs

That's the trouble with buying from a big box. Their merchandise isn't localized for your area and they don't give you any information. Next time go to a friendly local garden store!

Most of the spring bulbs are grown up here in the north and require a cooling period in the winter.

Crocus: These bulbs generally require a 12-15 week cold period. The temperature should stay between 35 to 45 degrees F. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/urban/growing-crocus-indoors.htm
(they aren't called snow crocuses for nothing!)

Hyacinth can get by with a bit less, but still I think need at least six weeks of temps in the 40 degree range.

Tulips: In mild climates, chill tulips before planting. Store the bulbs in paper or netted bags - not plastic - for six to eight weeks in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. Do not mix them with fruit. https://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1216/is_4_203/ai_55884804/

Hope this helps, though I'm sure it's a bit discouraging...
If your winter is such that you will have temps in this range, you can just put the bulbs in the frig for now and then plant when it has cooled off. But I don't know how they would do with the 25 today, 70 tomorrow stuff. I think they will do better with some weeks of chilling first.

In my climate none of the above need to be dug up, we just leave them in the ground and they come back and multiply, year after year. In your climate, to get good results you'd probably need to dig all those hundreds of them up each fall and chill them again. :(

Maybe you need to think about growing stuff that's better adapted to your climate? Here's a link to some nice pictures of Georgia perennials
https://www.georgiaperennial.org/gallery/index.htm

GeorgiaGirl
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THANK YOU, rainbow! That is so helpful too... thanks so much for the links and input!!
Julia in Georgia

CedarGa.
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Georgiagirl/spring bulbs

[b]Hey,Georgia girl,I live in Cedartown,I planted tulip bulbs last Nov/Dec,it was the first time I ever planted bulbs.They were beautiful and they came from Wmart.I also planted Stargazer Lilies from Wmart for the summer.Even more beutiful.If I can do it,anybody can.Start with the tulips,learn and go from there.I'm planning a big show this spring.Good luck! [/b]
I have bulb planting fever!I love growing plants,flowers and gardening.

zaneyzelda
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I live in zone 7 OR . I have grown spring bulbs for about 15 years, but I am not an expert. One thing is to plant them in groups of the same color and kind. This tends to give a better overall effect. I didn't do it because I was scrimping my first year and it looked quite hit and miss. Another important thing, if you have gophers or critters like that who eat bulbs, they will gobble them up before you can blink an eye. You can put like chickenwire in the ground and then the soil to keep them out or plant in raised beds where the gophers can't get in. Usually the better the soil, the easier the gophers can get in ! And it is VERY sad to pay all that money and then have them eaten and not bloom !!! Another huge issue for me is that I have found that many of the spring bulbs come back weaker and weaker every year. This may be due to something I am doing wrong, but you know those beautiful tulip gardens you see that are in Europe ? They replant those every single year with new bulbs !!!!!!!!! So I try to get "naturalizing" bulbs, you can google this or ask. I know these ones will multiply/naturalize: daffodils, grape hyacinths, iris reticulata ( these are so so beautiful, very tiny), crocus, some tulips ( appledorn I think ) but most tulips for me get weaker and weaker. The size of the bulb is important in hyacinths and tulips. The bigger and more solid the bulb, the bigger the flower ! Do not buy small or "soft" bulbs. I have found Hyacinths get weaker every year until they only have a very few flower petals on them. So since I too love spring bulbs, I am on a fixed budget now so I try to buy only the ones that multiply. Be sure to plant them with good bulb fertilizer, I use Osmocote for everything I plant. Another thing I have found with tulips, is the ones that bloom later in my area, still zone 7, around May, we can have one hot day in May and their petals are ruined, VERy sad scene . So I try to buy the ones that bloom in early or mid spring, You probably know your month of May in your area better than I. When you are driving around and see a yard with beautiful spring bulbs, stop and talk to that person, they will know the most. It is always great to find a local person who is doing it, growing them. They have experience right in your micro-climate. My first year I did like you, and bought zillions ( wasn't on fixed income then) and I was so so so disappointed when I found out the tulips didn't get stronger and multiply each year. Crocus are so so fun, because they can even come up in January. I have planted my bulbs as late as DEc 25th and they still grew, but I wouldn't recommend this. YOu want to plant as soon as you feel the ground will stay cool. You don't want to plant in Oct if it is a warm Oct, like mine is this year, as the bulbs will start growing now ! Planting in the fall depends on the ground coolness. You kind of get a feel for it. And I have purchased all of my bulbs at big stores and I find Walmart is the cheapest and they grow just fine, but with Hyacinths and Tulips, look at the size of the bulb or get to know. They will say like 16... or 14....
OK, I guess this is long enough, If you have any more questions I can address, I will be glad to. Do you know about planting bulbs in the spring ( april) for summer bloom ? Because oriental lillies are to die for and multiply quickly and greatly and so do dahlias. I love flowers, I actually sell them :) Wendy :lol:
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Lady Jane
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A Broad Question

Hi,

I can completely empathize with falling head over heels for flowers of all kinds. And you're right that your work now planting bulbs will bring you lots of color next spring.

As others have mentioned, your question is quite broad. It does depend on the bulb variety and other factors.

For example, even within the tulips category, there are variations. Tulips need a cold winter for best performance in the spring. Bulbs should be planted after the warm weather for the season has passed. In colder areas, this will be in October or November, but in warmer climates, bulbs should be planted in December or January. In areas that are quite temperate, bulb prechilling is sometimes necessary.

Tulips are easy to grow, yet they may look less dazzling each year after the first bloom season. For this reason, some gardeners treat them as annuals and replant bulbs each year. Now, there are some solutions to this problem. Sometimes the reason tulip bulbs do not perform well year after year is because they eventually need division. If after digging up the bulb you notice small clusters of bulbs attached to the larger mother bulb, it could be that they are drawing critical nutrients from the main bulb. Separation can help.

Also, some types of tulips perennialize better than others. Try species, dwarf or botanical tulip types instead of the large hybrid kinds. If you do decide to lift your tulip bulbs, dig them up after their foliage is completely spent in the late summer months. Store them in a cool, dry place.

Anyway, this only answers your question for one particular type of bulb, so you can see the complexity of responding to your question about various types of bulbs. You could, as someone else mentioned, post separately about each specific type of flower.

Hope this helps.
Lady Jane
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