The Q&A Archives: Planting Tulips in Zones 9/10

Question: I just got your great bulb catalogue, and I picked out a bunch of bulbs that I want, but then I became confused by the zone recommendations. Underneath many of the selections, it says something like, "zones 3-8". I'm zone 11, and none of the tulips orother bulbs I wanted mentioned zone 11. If the zone recommendation excludes my zone, does that mean I wouldn't be able to have any luck growing them here? I was very successful with non-Burpee tulip bulbs this year, so I hope I'm just misunderstanding this whole zone thing so that I can go ahead and order all the tantalizing varieties I've picked out. Thanks for your help! Laurel Blankenship San Jose, CA

Answer: You are in zone 9 or 10 (not 11); these zones refer to the ability of a plant to withstand either the cold of winter or the heat of summer. Since you are in zone 9/10 you will have to dig up your bulbs after they have died back and give them a coldperiod (your refrigerator will do) or they will not grow and flower again. They need the cold! Be sure not to put them in the back of your frigde where things have a tendency to freeze. In your climate, tulips should be refrigerated at 40-45 degrees F until late November or December, then planted 6-8 inches deep so the bulbs can be as cool as possible.

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