Tulips

(Question)

Hello!
A friend just returned from Denmark and brought me a box of tulips. According to the vendor, the tulips should be planted by June 10. The box states “plant immediately within 4-6 weeks”. That takes us to the middle of summer and I thought tulips should only be planted in Toronto in late September or October. I was planning to keep the tulips in the fridge or in my cellar in the cardboard box until September when I will plant them in my garden along with my other tulips. Is that ok or should I plant them right away as per the vendor and the box instructions?

Thanking you in advance for your advice.

(Answer)

Dear gardener,

This is a bit difficult to answer as I do not know the species of tulip. Logically, Copenhagen is only few plant zones warmer than Toronto, so the same rules regarding tulips would apply. Generally the rule is to plant tulips in the fall in order to avoid bulb rot (and discourage squirrels from digging them); having said that, I usually plant spent bulbs right away in my garden as otherwise I forget about them!

If the vendor is specifying June 10th (I have never seen such as specific date) as a planting day, then I would probably follow the instructions. Perhaps it has something to do with packaging medium. Also, make sure that the tulips are hardy for our zone (6) and check for the blooming period as another clue to planting.

Sometimes in the gardening world you have to take some risks and experiment a little, particularly when it is a new product.

Hope this information helps a little in taking your decision.