- The trick to growing bulbs such as tulips, crocus and hyacinths in warm weather gardens (USDA zones 9 & warmer) is to give them a “Cold Treatment” to fool them into thinking they’ve gone through a cold winter.
- Place the bulbs in a mesh bag or plant in pots.
- Refrigerate the bulbs for 13 weeks at 48 degrees without any fruit. Making sure that the bulbs are not exposed to fruits or open bottles of wine is important. Fruit gives off a gas that will destroy the flower that is in the bulb.
- Open the refrigerator once a day for air circulation. Once they have been in the refrigerator for at least 13 weeks plant loose bulbs in the ground.
- If planted in a pot while cooling remove from the refrigerator, place in a particle to full sun area and water regularly.
- The container needs to have good drainage holes and use soil that does not have a lot of peat moss or moisture retaining material, the deeper the pot the better. The bulbs that are on the shorter side will do better in pots. The flowers that stay shorter will need shorter root systems in order to have enough grip without falling over out of the pot. Plants that get taller than 20 inches need to be in very large pots or in the ground.
- Fill the pot half full with soil.
- Fertilize per package directions
- Add bulbs, when placing bulbs they need to be 1-2 inches apart from one another and 1-2 inches away from the sides of the pot.
- Cover with soil.
- Don’t forget to water newly planted areas.
- If you plant your bulbs in containers, watch the weather for prolonged cold spells that could freeze your pots solid. When this happens, the water in the soil freezes and expands, damaging the bulb. Although the tulip has a protective layer of scales around its core, a long hard freeze will destroy it. Move these inside or mulch heavily. This also applies to areas where the soil freezes deeper than the planted bulbs.
- If you are not forcing, it is important that you allow the container to be out in the elements for the winter periods so that the flowers are still getting their water and going through their needed cold for a Spring bloom.