The Q&A Archives: When To Plant Bulbs in Texas

Question: I want to know when to plant my Tulip bulbs, I've had them in the fridge for 2 months now.

Answer: This mainly depends on what zone you are in (and as you probably know Texas has four of them!). If you are in Zone 6 (northern most tip) your bulbs should be planted in mid-October though you can still plant right up until the ground freezes. If you are in Zone 7, optimal planting is late October to very mid-November. Zones 8 and 9 are best planted in late November to mid-December. However, these are only optimal times. You are usually not too late if your ground is not frozen yet. The danger most gardeners face is planting bulbs too early. When this occurs, bulbs may start growing prematurely and get zapped by frost. The only effect of late planting would probably be a later blooming period and possibly reduced bloom. That would self correct by the Spring of 1999. Be sure to follow the supplier's planting instructions, adding approximately 3-4" to the planting depth if you plan to naturalize the tulips, i.e., leave them in the ground permanently. Tulips demand excellent drainage so throwing a handful of pea gravel in the bottom of the hole at planting time would be helpful. I like to work in a bit of extended release bulb fertilizer such as Bulb Booster (Holland Company/Dutch Gardens 1-800-818-3861). Remember, if you plan on mulching the tulip bed do not do so until the ground has completely frozen (and don't do it at all if your ground never completely freezes).

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