tulips storage and watering - Knowledgebase Question

Fort Mill, So
Question by saljoejan
August 30, 2010
I bought tulip bulbs from Home Depot on Aug 29. I won't have time to plant them until mid or late October. Will they be OK sitting in packaging indoors? Also, once they flower next spring, am I OK not watering them again until the following fall (i.e., not watering during the summer)? I live in Charlotte, NC.


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Answer from NGA
August 30, 2010

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Don't store your bulbs indoors where it's warm or they will begin to sprout, thinking it's springtime. Instead, store them in a cool area below 60 ?F until you can plant them.

Most bulbs require a 12- to 16- week chilling period to produce flowers. The best way to achieve that is by refrigerating the bulbs in ventilated packages until planting time. Daffodils can be planted in October or November, but wait to plant tulips and other spring-flowering bulbs until the soil temperature at planting depth stays below 60 ?F. In warm winter areas, most bulbs should be planted in late December or early January.

The bulbs will go into dormancy after they have finished flowering and the foliage dies down on its own, so they won't need to be watered. They should be dug and stored in late summer, then given a 12 week chill in the refrigerator before being replanted. Hope this answers all your questions!

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