Tulips

(Question)

Hi! Would appreciate your advise and input with respect to when’s the next best time that I can plant tulips in my garden? Thank you!

(Answer)

Hi Dan:

Thanks for your question about planting tulip bulbs in the spring. Unfortunately, these bulbs are best planted in the fall. In order to bloom, the bulbs need to go through a cold period. If you plant them outside now, just as they are, straight from the bag, they won’t bloom. The most you can hope for is leaves. Also unfortunate is that bulbs, unlike seeds, don’t last well out of the ground. Bulbs you bought last fall and still have not planted will likely not still be in good shape in the fall of 2019. What you could do now is plant the bulbs in pots and put the pots in the fridge for 2 months to mimic winter. Then you could try planting the bulbs outside and see what happens. They will likely not bloom on schedule with previously planted tulips and may bloom in the summer. I think this might be worth doing if the other alternative is throwing the bulbs out. There is no guarantee with this method that you will get tulip flowers. Before you try this, gently squeeze each bulb to make sure it is still firm. It should feel like an onion that you would use for cooking. Any softness or squishiness¬† or mould on a bulb means it has started to rot and it should be discarded.

I hope this answers your question. Good luck with this project.