Tulips for Charleston

nikkie_in_torontoNovember 14, 2013

This is my second winter in Charleston and I know I should probably just stick with jonquil and tazetta daffodils but I would like to attempt some tulips. I'm going to Ohio this week and thought about buying some and then refrigerating them until Xmas before planting.. Will that work? I see tulips blooming in many gardens in Charleston in the Spring but I know they arent reliable. Any advice would be helpful.

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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

You might have the best luck if you rely on their being unreliable.
Here in Charlotte, the better displays are in practically no soil but mostly soil amendments with a bit of potting soil with moisture holding beads in mounded displays above the soggy winter ground.
Tricky deal is keeping the squirrels from digging up the bulbs. Good Luck and check with your local nursery centers for better local advice.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 6:38PM
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Thank you Dottie.. I checked at one nursery in Charleston, that only sold daffodils, and they sell all of their bulbs "pre chilled." They recommended against Tulips because most of them were/are sold in big box stores and people think they can be planted as they are up north without any early refrigeration thus the tulips come up very short, or just fail all together. I just want to use them as annuals, because I see a lot of beautiful plantings of them in the historic district, but I'm just not sure when to plant them. Thank you again! N

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 9:59AM
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Nikkie, don't give up. Do a search for,,,'growing wild tulips in the south'. Yes, these little gems thrive in your area year after year tucked throughout the landscape. Many varieties offered in the large bulb nursery catalogs.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 11:18AM
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Last year I bought the tulips in Sept and put them in the bottom of the refrigerator which separated them from fruits, which I kept on higher shelves. Wrapped them in paper since instructions I got from Internet said air circulation was important, but I don't think they got much. I dug the beds in mid Dec, and planted them all on Dec 24 and 25. They were all up in early January--all but 3 or 4 bloomed beautifully (through February) and the colors changed as they aged-- so pretty!
I was careful to plant them at the same depth so they all came up together at same height which looked good. They bloomed for about a month, but I also had smaller bed in a shadier area and those blooms lasted a couple of weeks longer. I'm late getting them in this year and hope I will have success-- worried about the strong spring sun. Last year they spent 12 weeks in the frig. This year some spent 16, other spent just 10 or 12.
Dominating the refrigerator with all the bulbs hasn't been easy on the food storage space situation, so the sooner I get these out, the better for harmony here in the house!!! :) Good luck to all who try this. It's really worth it.. I did treat them as annuals obviously but I think the ones in the shade might have come back. Last year's were Darwins; this year Darwins and a mix of others. Bought them online, and then still got some more from a box store.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 12:58PM
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