Tucked Away Tulips

February 18, 2009

I discovered a grocery bag of forgotten tulips crammed into a bottom shelf when cleaning up my grow-op area in the basement.  I knew I had an extra bag somewhere!  Of course, I couldn’t find it for the life of me back in fall 2008 when I was planting them out for this spring.

When I looked inside the bag, I saw this:

Ack!  They’re growing and I don’t know what to do!  Can I save them?  Should I plant them and grow them indoors?  I need to find answers.

It’s too bad as these are some of the 3 million tulips that are planted in the City of Ottawa’s Tulip Festival.  Most of them are saved by the City for re-planting in the next festival, however, many are dug up and discarded to rot in a super secret location once all the hoopla is done.

What to do?


After showing my picture of my sprouting tulip bulbs to a Richie Feed and Seed customer service agent, apparently I have three options:

  1. Pot up the bulbs and put in a south-facing window. The stem will probably be weak and there won’t be any decent bloom on the tulip.
  2. Pot up the bulbs and put in the fridge for 10 weeks to develop a root system. I can also put them in the garage as long as the temperature stays around 0°C to 5°C. If it freezes solid, the bulbs will turn to mush in the soil.
  3. Store the bulbs in a cool, dark place in paper and plant out in spring. They will not bloom this year, though maybe next.

As the bulbs are already shooting, it’s unlikely that I’ll get a decent bloom out of them this year. I think I’m going to put a few bulbs through each option and see which one does best. Ooo! I feel an experiment coming on!


5 Responses to “Tucked Away Tulips”

  1. Dan Says:

    They look pretty healthy in the photo. I would pot them up, give them a bit of water and put them in a unheated area like a shred, garage or cold frame.

  2. Pinky Purls Says:

    i did that once… i wind up throwing them away cause i didn’t think they would grow. doh!

  3. It’s like Christmas when you discover forgotten bulbs!

  4. Zach Says:

    Wow, i have never had anything like that happen to me before! Well you will have to let us know how your experiment turns out. The third option sounds pretty easy to me.

  5. Probably wouldn’t work but I’ve heard of gardeners, pouring hot water on the soil near their house where it doesn’t freeze as deep, digging a trench, sticking in the bulbs, covering the trench, mulching heavily and then hoping it will work.

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