Refrigerating Flower Bulbs - Knowledgebase Question

Chandler, AZ
Question by shannalee
January 11, 2000
I was told that you must refrigerate or freeze your flower bulbs to simulate winter so they bloom correctly. Could you tell me how long and whether it needs to be in the freezer or refrigerator?


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Answer from NGA
January 11, 2000

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Most spring blooming bulbs are planted in October, November or by December at the latest. Bulbs appreciate a rich fertile soil, so incorporate 4-6 inches of compost into your soil before planting. Add a phosphorous source, such as bone meal, to the bottom of the planting holes to promote bloom. Continuing adding compost and fertilizer to your bulb bed every year. The packages that bulbs come in will usually provide planting depths, but lacking that, plant about two times the bulb's diameter. Tulips, daffodils, and crocus require chilling for about 4-6 weeks. Chill them in the refrigerator; don't place them in the freezer. Iris, zephyranthes, ranunculus and others require no chilling. (Tulips are generally annuals in the low desert.) Put in the crisper of your refrigerator, but make sure no fruit is in the same compartment. It gives off a gas that encourages the bulbs to grow. Good luck!

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