The Q&A Archives: Chilling Bulbs

Question: I am wanting to plant some bulbs but, need to know my "Zone". I may need to chill the bulbs first.

Answer: You're in USDA Zone 9, with minimum temperatures of 20 to 30?F. This mild-winter region is characterized by a long growing season and almost no winter freeze. Summers are either hot and dry or hot and humid. Although it might seem that just about any plant could do well in such a mild area, Zone 9 (and warmer) is not good for plants that require a winter chill. Those that flourish include Asparagus setaceus (Asparagus fern), Eucalyptus globulus (Tasmanian blue gum), Syzygium paniculatum (Australian bush cherry), Fuchsia hybrids (Fuchsia), and Schinus molle (California pepper tree).

As you suspect, spring-flowering bulbs require a prolonged winter chill before they'll grow roots and foliage. Putting them in the refrigerator will accomplish this. (The length of the chilling period differs from bulb type to bulb type.)

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