Time to plant your tulips!

Jan 3, 2010

Yesterday was like a little gardening oasis in the middle of a chilly winter. Lots of lovely sunshine and perfect temperature for working outside. I had a few hundred tulips waiting to be planted and it ended up being just perfect day to get them in the ground. If you're in the South, and you haven't planted your tulips yet, now's the time. In fact, I really don't like recommended that they be planted after the first week of January. Prime time is about the middle through the end of December. We always seem to get just one or two really nice days about that time, so you have to jump on them!

I'm not planting as many tulips as in year's past, but still enough to have a nice display in the front. I stuck with a combination of 'Menton', a lovely peach colored single-late and 'Big Smile', a buttery yellow single-late. Should look lovely with the blue pansies.

Make sure to plant your tulips 6-8" deep from the surface of the soil. That's really important, especially if you plant them late. You can read my post from last year for a bit more detailed info. Now get out there and plant your tulips!

There are 6 comments for this entry

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Nell Jean
Jan 03, 2010
8:17 pm

Makes me wish I hadn’t given up tulips.

Leslie Finical Halleck
Jan 04, 2010
10:33 am

Never give up on tulips! There are a few key factors involved in successfully growing tulips in the South. I’m going to do a follow up post which will address those issues for you!

Jennifer Birdd
Feb 04, 2010
4:50 pm

Today I had a friend ask me if it is too late (2/4/10) to plant the tulip bulbs. I did not know the answer so I thought I would ask the expert.

Leslie Finical Halleck
Feb 04, 2010
5:06 pm

Hi Jennifer,
Honestly, It’s pretty darn late. Prime time to plant your pre-chilled tulips here is the month of December. The latest I’ll recommend to ensure success is early January. If they want to plant them now, they’ll need to plant them really deep, a good solid 8-inches from top of bulb to soil level. Then top with a couple inches of mulch.

Factors that will impact how well the bulbs will perform is 1. were they pre-chilled. 2. how long have they sat out at warm temps (or were they left outside/garage during freezing temps) 3. how soon it warms up outside after they are planted.

Hopefully they’ll do ok!

Jennifer Birdd
Feb 05, 2010
12:27 pm

Thank you for answering my questions. The tulips have not been bought. She found some at Home Depot and they are not chilled. What do you think? Take a chance or wait until next year?

Leslie Finical Halleck
Feb 05, 2010
12:31 pm

Never waste your money on un-chilled tulip bulbs, unless you get them by early October and can have them chilled. But never this late in the season. Tulips require a chilling period (vernalization) in order to produce a flower bud. While these bulbs at Home Depot may have received enough chilling hours in cold storage during shipping, etc., they’ve been sitting out for months at this point. I’d definitely say pass and wait till next year. There are still bulbs you can plant right now, perennials specifically. Daffodils, Dutch Iris, Anemone, Spanish Bluebells, Leucojum, Muscari, Crocus. We still have some of those bulbs left at NHG or you may find them elsewhere.

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