The distinguishing, cup-shaped flowers of tulips (Tulipa spp.) are a reminder that spring is here and summer is on the way. Tulips are perennials at U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8. In these USDA zones, their bulbs can be left in the ground annually to grow as perennials. In warmer USDA zones, however, tulips are often grown as annuals. Whether grown as perennials or annuals, in a container or in the ground, tulip bulbs often can be dug up and stored indoors to be planted again for the next spring’s blooms.
Indoor Potted Tulips
Sometimes tulips are planted in a container and also made to bloom during the autumn months. These potted tulips are often given as gifts and used to brighten the indoors for holidays. Following their blooms fade, you may be tempted to put their grass in the garage and also trust that they will bloom again in spring. Unfortunately, pressured tulips rarely bloom again; even if they do, then it may not be for two or three decades. Still, it’s likely to try. Eliminate the blooms as soon as they fade to keep them from going to seed. Then try to keep the leaf growing as long as you can. Keep the soil moist, and set the pot in a cool but sunny location. When the foliage dies back, then it needs to be removed and the potted plants set in a cool but dark place, such as a garage. When autumn arrives again, remove the lights in the soil, and plant them outdoors. If your garage door receives a great deal of light, then an option is to plant the bulbs outdoors in spring once the ground is workable. They will not bloom that spring up, but they may bloom the next spring. If the lights still have leaves on them, wait until your area’s final average frost date passes before planting them.
Outdoor Potted Tulips
Tulips implanted in a container outdoors can be stored in a cool, dark place, such as a garage, until the weather warms again. This method prevents the cycle of freezing and thawing which could damage tulips bulbs which devote winter outdoors. In warm climates, using this technique might help prevent the lights from rotting in summer’s heat. Wait until the foliage dies back completely to ensure their nutrients will go to the bulbs. The garage or other indoor storage place ought to be unheated so that the bulbs can experience the chilling period necessary for them to blossom in spring. An alternative for gardeners in cold climates is to bury the lights’ entire container in the ground or transfer it into your protected place and cover it entirely with mulch. Gardeners who live in USDA zones 9 and 10 may find that their garages have too hot for proper tulip bulb storage at summertime. The storage location’s temperature should stay below 90 degrees Fahrenheit for tulip bulbs to flower properly in spring. Rather than a popular garage, the lights can be stored in a dark, air-conditioned place that stays cool.
Sometimes it’s impossible to plant tulip bulbs right after obtaining them. In case you have loose tulip bulbs and want to store them in a container until it’s time to plant them, choose a shallow grass to expose parts of the lights to atmosphere. Before you set the bulbs at the container, then wash or brush off all soil nevertheless left over the lights. Doing so will help them dry faster and help prevent rot. Set the container in a dark, cool and dry place in your garage, ensuring nothing audiences the container. If you live in USDA zones 9 or 10, your garage door may not get cool enough to provide a decent chilling period for those bulbs, which is needed for them to bloom the next spring. Go ahead and set the bulbs in your garage initially — as long as it does not get above 90 F, but about eight weeks before you plant the lights, set them in a paper bag, and set them in your refrigerator, putting them away from all fruit. In the end of the chilling period, which should last six to eight weeks, plant the bulbs.
For some home gardeners, the task involved with overwintering tulip bulbs may not be well worth it. Tulip bulbs aren’t generally very hardy; they tend to break away from repeated freezes and thaws, get eaten by squirrels and other animals or suffer from mold and decay. Many tulip bulbs bloom nicely for just their first couple of decades, after which time their blooms decrease or disappear completely. Because of this, many home gardeners only treat them as annuals, planting new ones each year. Consider discarding the lights — particularly if they have soft, rotten spots, are broken or are moldy — and begin fresh with new ones.