The Q&A Archives: Missed Planting Tulips In The Fall

Question: We were unable to plant out tulip bulbs in the fall due to illness and inclement weather. If they cannot be planted after the ground thaws in March (we hope), will they keep until next fall? If so, how and where should they be stored?

Answer: Storing bulbs from year to year usually does not work, especially at home where conditions are not optimum. If the bulbs are still in good shape, meaning not rotted, shriveled, mushy or moldy, you could still plant them now. Put them in containers, water lightly, and set those in a very cool (but not freezing) location to allow the bulbs to chill and root. Keep the soil slightly moist and watch for roots to appear. Tulips need about four months of chilling in order to grow and bloom. In spring, when the soil is workable, you can transplant them to the garden.

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