The Q&A Archives: disappointing bulbs this Spring

Question: I planted over 100 Burpee bulbs (tulips, daffodils, crocus) last Fall. This Spring, only a fraction have come up, and those that have are very short, with little foliage. Some come up with the bud for the flower starting to open even before it's completely cleared the dirt. Did I plant them too deep/shallow? At the time, I thought I was following the directions that came with them. We've watered the area quite a bit this Spring.

Answer: It's so disappointing when you work that hard to plant something and it doesn't perform well! El Nino messed with our weather so much this winter, it wouldn't surprize me if the bulbs didn't receive enough of a chilling period. These bulbs need cool temps (38-45F) for a period of at least 6 weeks. If your winter was unusually mild, this may well be the problem. Also, most bulbs should be planted so that the tips of the bulbs are several inches deep (tip depth of daffodil - 5"; tulilp - 4"; crocus - 3"). If you feel the problem is with the bulbs, not with planting method or growing conditions, please write back.

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