The Q&A Archives: Overwintering Container Tulips in Reno, NV

Question: I have about 50 tulips in a large barrel and wish to store them for next year. They have all bloomed now and are ready for storage. My problem is how do I proceed with this? I'm not sure if I should store them or plant them right away in my garden. Iwould appreciate your advice on this matter. Nevada is so different from California in its weather and all. Thank you for your kind consideration in this matter. Josie Kean Reno, NV

Answer: I would let your tulips in the barrel dieback naturally and leave them in the barrel until fall. Now you can plant annual flowers such as marigolds, petunias and zinnias in the barrel for summer color. In fall after a frost, if you want to keep the bulbs in the barrel, move the barrel to an unheated garage or shed. The bulbs need cool treatment, but many not survive the winters in Reno. The problem is freezing and thawing, so another solution is to mulch the barrel with hay or leaves to keep the soil temperature constant. When signs of spring come, move the barrel outside for next spring's show. If you want, you can also dig them out of the barrel and plants them in the garden again after the foliage has naturally died back. They should bloom nicely in the garden next spring.

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