Ask a Question forum: Tulip and Hyacinth bulbs/questions about planting

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Redondo Beach, CA (Zone 10a)
May 12, 2017 12:17 PM CST
A friend just gave me some Tulip and Hyacinth bulbs and Ive been trying to look up what to do with them, when and where to plant them, etc. But Im still a bit confused. Im in zone 10 (Los Angeles area by the beach), I found instructions to put the bulbs in the refrigerator for about 2 months and then plant in December. Of course that would mean I have to wait till Oct. to chill them. Is it possible to plant them now? If not how do I store them till Oct? It looks like they were dug up from the ground. They have dry dirt and roots all around them, some are separate and just laying in there. They are in a plastic bag, I want to give them the best chance for blooming. Also once they have chilled in the fridge, I know they need sun. Any special type of dirt or fertilizer. My yard is clay mostly but others types of dirt have been added here and there. I have a rather large yard for this area with a lot of tropical type plants. Also some various flowers. There are other types of bulbs planted in the yard that come up every year, (I didnt plant them) but some have stopped flowering for some reason. I have to admit, I know very little about taking care of plants. But Id like to give these bulbs a chance if possible. Any tips?


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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
May 12, 2017 4:52 PM CST
Hi and welcome, Jo. It looks to me like those bulbs were already "forced" to bloom in pots. (there is a pot-shaped root ball in one of your pictures) This means it's not all that likely they will bloom again for you.

Your climate is too warm and doesn't get enough winter chilling for tulips or hyacinths to grow and bloom year after year like they do in colder places. So if you put them out into the garden, after chilling in the fridge they might put up a few flowers next spring but after that you really can't expect them to do much.

Sorry to be discouraging but, the reality of the situation is that they have two strikes against them. Clean all the dead stuff off them and see how many healthy bulbs you have. (the golden shiny papery skin is on the healthy bulbs) Put them in a pot of sterile potting soil with the points upwards, if you still want to try for flowers next year. Keep them in a cool, dry place (indoors in the a/c over the summer) then bring them out, water and put in the fridge for a couple of months as directed. When you bring them out, move to a sunny window and water again regularly to see if anything grows. Shrug! I'm not optimistic.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
May 12, 2017 6:48 PM CST
You will have to accept that zone 10 is not for many spring bulbs. I have tried and learned. If you buy bulbs that have already been cold treated they will bloom for you once, if you're lucky. I treat those as annuals. Some Daffodils, Lilies, and a few others will make it for a few years in well drained soil, but tulips, crocus ,hyacinth... annuals . Look for all the wonderful bulbs we can grow that don't need that chill. We all learn by trying, so go for may get lucky, but don't plan your landscape around them.
Redondo Beach, CA (Zone 10a)
May 13, 2017 12:44 AM CST
Thank You! Thank you both for your replies. I went down to the local garden center and they told me to try and plant the Hyacinth now, so I did. So we'll see. The Tulips they said to put in a paper bag and store in a dark place till December, then put in the fridge for 6 weeks, then plant them. Im not too optimistic as well but I'll give it a try.


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