The Q&A Archives: Bulbs in Las Vegas

Question: Can I plant and be sucessful growing bulbs in Las Vegas? And, do they need extra care through the summer months after flowering?

Answer: In warmest-winter areas such as yours (zone 11), select bulb varieties that are best adapted to warm winters, such as wild tulips that are native to southern Europe. Most large-flowered tulips, hyacinths, and crocus will need supplemental chilling. To chill the bulbs before planting, place them in the refrigerator crisper for 8 to 10 weeks (but keep bulbs away from fruits or vegetables; they give off ethylene gas, which can cause the bud inside a bulb to abort), then plant. Since the ground rarely freezes deeply, if at all, in these areas, bulbs can be planted into December or even early January.

Aside from regular applications of water, the bulbs will be happy in the garden until the foliage yellows and dies on its own. Once this happens, dig the bulbs, cut away the dead foliage, brush off the dirt and keep them in a cool, dry, dark place for the remainder of the summer months. (I place mine in a shoebox, set the lid on top and put them on the closet floor.) Then chill them as described above and replant them in your garden. The following spring they should grow and bloom well for you.

Best wishes with your bulbs!

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