Can I plant bulbs now?

mrsbunny(z7 NC)October 19, 2005

Hi - I'm in Charlotte and am a first-timer with bulbs. I want to plant some 'Fortune' daffodils, some tomasinianus (sp?) crocus, and mabye some species tulips. I know we are supposed to have near-record heat today. What is the bulb planting window here this year, do you think?

Thanks, Robin

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countrygirl_sc

I don't see why you can't go ahead and plant them since we are having such warm weather. I think usually they should be planted in September so you are not that late. As a matter of fact, I'll be planting some Daffodil bulbs and some irises this weekend too!

This year, I actually planted some Daffodil bulbs in early February and they came up and bloomed although a little later than the ones that were already in the ground.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 12:31PM
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aisgecko(7b Raleigh)

You can plant pretty late here as long as the ground isn't frozen. I planted some daffodils during a warm spell last January and they came up fine in the spring. -Ais.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 12:56PM
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trianglejohn

I wouldn't. I'd store them til it got reliably cool like around Thanksgiving. If its too warm they'll sprout now and then suffer all winter and not bloom much - having exhausted themselves. You want the soil temps to be below a certain level and its different for different bulbs and it probably hasn't cooled down enough yet.

This is the classic problem with buying bulbs early (which is the only way to get good quality and selection), you have to store them someplace cool and dry for a month or so.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 12:58PM
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mrsbunny(z7 NC)

Is the refrigerator sufficiently dry? I could ask the vendor to wait to until mid-November to ship them. I am planning to order from Touch of Nature since I've heard such good things about them. It's over 80 degrees here (the record temperature for today is 84!).

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 1:43PM
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Claire Pickett

Definitely too early for Zone 7...you are also giving predators added time to dig up and devour. Also remember that dogs love BONE meal! They can smell it 8 inches down.

Like Ais, I've planted all kinds of bulbs around New Year's and had them bloom. I think Thanksgiving weekend, instead of fighting the shopping mobs, would be an ideal time to plant bulbs.

BTW, I've just started keeping potatoes in the hydrator of my refrigerator. I used to throw out half a bag on a regular basis....now I use every single one...not a single "eye." I'll need to defer to others re: flower bulbs though.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 3:54PM
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trianglejohn

Yes to the fridge! Many hard core gardeners keep an old fridge in the garage just to store seeds and bulbs in. You will need to check them every so often to make sure they aren't drying out or rotting.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 4:38PM
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nancedar(z7NC)

A very old dorm-sized refrigerator that is not "frost-free" is perfect for storing garden stuff. The newer ones dry everything out, like they are meant to if you keep food in them. I have an old brown one (circa 1972) with a non-working freezer section that is set at about 40 to 45 degrees. The walls get moldy once in a while but is very easy to clean and no FOOD ever goes in there so it's OK. To keep the flats of seeds from getting moldy, I put a tiny bit of bleach in a spray bottle and squirt it over the soil before I plant the seeds and put plastic wrap all around the flats that have to be really wet for several months. I mark the calendar every two weeks to "peek" at the promises.

One of these days the suppliers will figure out that the South stays warmer much later than where the bulbs are grown and keep them in cool storage for us and not even ship them until November or December. Wouldn't it be great to have a Christmas stocking full of Daffodil bulbs?!!! Many on-line suppliers stop shipping at the end of October because THEIR ground is, or soon will be, frozen and the migrant workers have moved on South. I cringe when I see the big racks of bulbs at the nurseries, in full hot sun no less, and know that if you don't buy them now they won't be there when you should plant them so you lose out either way. Even if you order on-line there is no guarentee that the bulbs haven't been dug in August and have been sitting in some open-air warehouse for several months until your order goes in.

The best solution I have found? Trade bulbs with Southern Garden Webbers in November!

Nancy nancedar

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 7:13PM
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