Ranunculus & Tulips in pots

gw2010nc(7b)December 9, 2010

I had planted ranunculus corms/roots and tulip bulbs in large plastic pots on 11/14. I had just seen one ranunculus shoot begin to emerge last weekend. But the last couple of days the nighttime temps went below 20F and this morning I could feel the pots as hard as a rock - meaning they were frozen.

The little shoot that had begun to emerge seemed to have aborted - it didnt look fresh green.

Are these ranunculus killed? I am in Durham, NC - zone 7b.

I guess the tulips will be ok?

Should I be bringing the pots into the garage when the temps are forecast to be below freezing? Right now the pots are on my back patio.

Any advice?

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Being in a pot lowers the zone number by one digit (or so they say) so bulbs for pot need to be pretty hardy and both ranunculus and tulips are, so you should be fine. This weekend when things warm up make sure you water well - the cold we've had has dried everything out.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 10:05AM
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Thanks John!
I have brough the pots into my garage and will leave them there until this cold spell passes - I think next Tuesday/Wednesday.
I just hope the 2 nights of extreme cold didnt kill the ranunculus for good.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 8:43AM
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I've seen it burn the tips of the first leaves to emerge and I've seen it damage the blooms if they are above ground when the cold hits - but its so early in the year that I imagine by next spring they will be flushed with new growth. Ranunculus need the extra cold or else they won't make many flower buds and they need a long cool spring or else they tend to hurry up and bloom and switch into summer mode. Cold weather is actually good for some plants. If you keep them in the dark just remember to keep them on the dry side, if they continue to send up growth you'll need to put out in the sunshine no matter what the temps are.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 9:27AM
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So, jealous. Miss growing tulips and hyacinths.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 8:35AM
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I have left the pots near my door on the porch. Havent seen any more sprouts. Havent dug into the pots to see what going on underneath.. I hope they are ok. I havent watered them. Just whatever water falls on them from rain and snow.. Should I be watering them?
also, I have 2 raised beds that I planted with daffodils, tulips, muscari, dutch iris, alliums, etc.. Do they need water in addition to whatever they get from the snow and rain? When I planted I didnt water them, but the soil was nice and moist and it did rain a couple of days later and then we had the big snow... Also have a few pots of hyacinths and a few bearded iris ( I got the clearance sale from Holland Bulb :) )
This being my first experiment with spring bulbs, I am not sure if I am doing anything wrong. I have read that bulbs are quite forgiving and resilient.. so I just hope I get to see a few blooms in Spring..
Anyone in the Carolinas starting to see any bulbs sending sprouts out of the ground yet? When will the crocus start to bloom - I dumped quite a few in my backyard and just covered them with some cheap top soil - dont know if they will bloom or not..

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 4:35PM
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Unless it gets unnaturally dry you won't need to water anything in the ground. I only water my containers once a month - they tend to dry out more than the ground. If you water too much it can crack the pot when we have a hard freeze, but being too dry can be hard on a bulb. So what I do is water really well whenever we have a warm spell.

I'm in Raleigh and usually start seeing bulbs popping their noses above ground by Valentines Day. Some of the daffodils will bloom that early also but the big flush of flowers doesn't start until March and April.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 9:25AM
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coorscat(6 and 9)

I have daffodils and iris in the ground. They don't get water except from rain and snow melt. They do fine. I am in Swain County on the NC/TN border and my daffodils usually poke out about the end of February. I've never done bulbs in pots in NC (I have some in pots in FL) so please keep us posted and tell us how they did. I really want to try tulips!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 2:41PM
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I only grow tulips in pots that I keep at the office building where I work. Since its a big concrete paved complex there are no squirrels or rodents running around. At home the squirrels and voles will dig up and eat any tulip I plant and the deer will walk up onto the porch to nibble them after they emerge in the spring.

You know those dicount mega bags of daffodil bulbs - I dump all of them into large pots of potting mix and wait til spring to see the show. It is an unnatural explosion of yellow trumpets but the bulbs are cheap and it really signals the season when things warm up.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 8:26AM
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coorscat(6 and 9)

That must be beautiful when they are in bloom. I know daffodils are kinda ordinary...but boy they make me smile

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 5:26PM
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