When To Plant Tulips in Pots?

iowa50126(z5IA)October 14, 2005

I've got some new tulip bulbs that I'd like to grow in pots next Spring.

Do I wait until Spring to plant them? Or, do I pot them now and put them in my basement? Would they survive the Iowa winter in the pots in my detached and unheated garage?

I've read that in the South they put the bulbs in the frig for 6 week then pot them. Does this work?

Need advice on this one.

Pete in I.F.

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Maude_IA(z5-SE Iowa)


I have tried the pots in the refrigerator method and it works just fine if you have the space. After potting the bulbs and watering, I let them sit out for a day so there is a little less moisture in the pot.
Then I slip each pot into an old bread bag (to catch any drips and crumbs of soil), twist tie the top shut, and set them in the back of the frig.

Starting in early Feb. I take them out at 2 - 3 week intervals so the blooming time is spread out, although as I recall, those that stay in the frig longer grow a little faster because of ? ? ? ? But they do.
They'll get very leggy if they are indoors where it's room temp, so a bright cool place like an enclosed back porch is better once they start to grow. If it's going to be below freezing on the porch, I let them spend the night indoors in a cool place.

After they bloom, you can plant the bulbs outside in late spring and they will do their thing outdoors the next year. I've heard, but never tried it, that they don't have enough food left in the bulb to bloom again in a pot.

I checked over at the bulb forum - maybe you found this already - and it has some additional methods and thoughts.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Forcing Bulbs in the frig

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 2:34PM
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dirtdoctortoo(z4b/5a IA)

I tried this one year with variable sucess. I don't have the fridge space. I potted them up, watered like once and placed them in my unheated but seldom actually freezes garage. I placed boards on top of them to keep critters and light out. After 12 weeks I brought them into my junk room (once it was a porch but its been enclosed and is sorta heated). The tulips did bloom but they didn't look anything like the greehouse ones you can buy but hyacinths are awesome. And they smell great. Crocuses were in between. Has anyone done daffodils? I now do the hyacinths every year. They only need 8 weeks of chill time or so. If you hurry you can pot some up and give them as Chritmas presents. All the recepient has to do is place on a windowsill water them.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 7:44PM
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