The Q&A Archives: Storing Tulip Bulbs

Question: I have been reading that you can store tulip bulbs over the fall and winter to re-bloom in the spring. I have two tulips in pots in my home the foliage has turned brown and died. Please tell me how to store the bulbs until next srping. Also give instructions for forcing bulbs. Can I force these bulbs now? Or do I have to wait for a while? I bought the tulips in mid-spring.

Thank you,

Answer: 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; tulips need 12 weeks.) After the prescribed chilling treatment, plant the bulbs in pots and place the pots outdoors. (The bulbs will need this additional period of cool and dark conditions in order to develop roots.) Keep the soil in the pots moist. Once the bulbs begin to sprout and the tips of the foliage are about an inch high, you can bring the pots indoors to finish forcing the plants, and bring them into bloom a few weeks earlier than they would bloom outdoors. Try to keep the pots in a cool location when you bring them indoors. If the temperature is too warm, the foliage will grow too rapidly and be pale and spindly. Good luck with your bulb-forcing venture!

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