too late for bulbs?

pam_fNovember 14, 2005

Hi everyone,

Am I too late to plant my bulbs? I got so busy with my other projects now someone told me it is too late. I live in Central NJ near Trenton/Princeton.



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Gosh, Pam, I hope not ... I just finished planting my new ones!

Seriously, they should be fine; I've planted later than this with good results. But don't wait too long - planting in a cool soil is best for them, but it's going to be downright cold before long. Give them a good start now (proper planting depth, nicely prepared and amended soil, proper placement) and they should be rewarding you with blooms for years.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 11:00PM
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Thanks for the feedback. I will put them in this week for sure! I was going to go about 10 " deep. Is that a good choice?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 12:21PM
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You needn't go as far as 10", unless the planting instructions say so, or if you want to plant annuals over the bulbs as their blooming season ends. It really depends on the species and size of the bulb - generally 3 times the diameter of the bulb. My tulips, daffodils, allium are all at about 6-8", Dutch Iris at 4", and the tiny snowdrops, chionodoxa and grape hyacinth are at about 3". (Actually, some of my snowdrops are less than 3" deep, but they've spread, that's where they choose to grow, and they do well, so I don't mess with 'em. It's wonderful to see the green shoots in January, with flowers by February.)

The package should give you some planting advice. For more detailed information, the following link will take you to an article on planting and care of bulbs, the advice given by Rich Obal, a horticulturist at Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service in New Brunswick, N.J.:,,404905_290158,00.html

The big, beautiful bearded irises, however, like to have their rhizomes just 1" below the surface ... it's a little late to be planting those now, though. If you do have some already, I'd put them in the ground and hope for the best; even if they don't make a big display the first season, they should be well settled in for the following ones. If anyone has any other experiences with these, I'd like to know; I often "bite off more than I can chew" and find myself really pushing the limits as summer so quickly changes to autumn!

We're in for some wet, cold weather tomorrow, but we should have some decent weather later this week ... I hope so, 'cause I still have to prep and plant my garlic beds (this is a new thing for me and I'm very excited about it).


    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 9:06PM
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The weather is great, no bugs, soil is warm and rain is pouring every a few days - it's the best time for planting bulbs. Bulbs can be planted 1 month prior to hard freeze of soil. If you don't want to risk - just mulch with old leaves. I am still re-planting perennials and bushes.

I also need to re-plant my garlic: its green sprouts were all eaten by someone. I wonder what's wrong with deer and rabbits in my area? Or they also want to improve their immune system to fight a flu?

    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 9:51PM
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I once planted bulbs New Years Day and they were fine. Just mulch to keep ground from freezing.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 8:21PM
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Bulbs should be planted when the night time temperature is in the forties and any time up until the ground freezes. Bulbs form roots in the fall and when the ground gets to the frezing temperature, they become dormant until spring. When the weather begins to warm, the plant will produce the leaves; then flowers.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2005 at 6:27PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

I always succumb to drastically reduced bulb bargains late in the season. Have planted in the freezing weather just before the ground froze or as it was freezing and still do well with them. That would be late December. Just be careful not to store them somewhere where they will freeze before you plant them. Then you will have mush.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 12:47PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

BTW, Brent and Becky started their 50% off sale! Can never resist. Placed my order. Last order is Dec. 5th.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brent and Becky

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 10:04PM
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Another late planter here, never disappointed come spring.

Just found a pot with a handful of bulbs ... must've dug them up when I was moving some perennials around ... and I have the perfect spot for them: right next to little Miss Alice rose.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2005 at 3:15PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

AHHH! The squirrels ate 46 of my 50 bulb bag of Tulip 'Liliput'!!!!!!
It was the one plant I really wanted from my order. Why did I leave it on the porch last night!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2005 at 2:00PM
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Over the holiday I finally had time to set out the plants, boxes of iris, daylily, dafoldil and tulips. I did not have time to find the ideal location for them, but but it is much safer for them in the ground, than drying or rotting. December was too cold to plant. Just hope they can do well....

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 5:07PM
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sugar_magnolia(z6 Hamilton, NJ)

Holy hell! Squirrels ate that many bulbs overnight?!?!?!?! Time to make squirrel stew.

As many of you know, I am a newbie gardener. This fall I planted bulbs for the first time. I hope nothing eats them and they come up in the Spring!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2006 at 1:57PM
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mastergardenerfrank(Zone6/New Jerse)

If you ever get caught in a pinch like I did last year. Put all the bulbs in the crisper in the fridge. Come March I dumped 1/3 of the soil out of one of my BIG pots on my side porch. Started planting in layers Daffs, Tulips, Hyacinths...... Had the most beautiful display May to June with my spring show. August knocked them out of the pot & put them in the garden where they should have gone a year earlier.
Hope this helps some time.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 11:33PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

Sugar Magnolia,
I'm surprised you didn't get sent to Disneyland with that language! LOL. Actually my husband picked up the four and put them back in the bag. By the time I made it outside, they ate two more. Then they started digging up the others I've planted. I keep finding tulip skins blowing around.

That is good to know. I think I'd rather have pots around where I could move the old foliage out, especially daffodils.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 7:13PM
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sugar_magnolia(z6 Hamilton, NJ)

I see something has been scratching at the ground where I have planted my allium bulbs -- i hope they have not dug them up. i won't be able to tell until Spring when the flowers either bloom or do not bloom.

i know many of you don't like brecks but they've got some instant bloom tulip bulbs that you can plant now and have flowers in Spring i am thinking of giving it a shot and putting them under my Norway Maple since nothing else seems to grow in the bed beneath it.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 4:54PM
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sugar_magnolia(z6 Hamilton, NJ)

BTW Breck's is also offering hyacinths and daffs that you can plant in Spring and have flowers this season.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 5:43PM
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