Forcing tulip bulbs
I live in United Arab Emirates (zone 9) and I purchased 1000 tulip bulbs from UK and US and I put them yesterday in refrigerator to chill them. I have many questions which are: 1- I want to plant bulbs from January till July, is that ok to keep them all those months in fridge and use them batch by batch every 2 weeks? 2- My bulbs now in brown paper or Mech paper, and I will put the first batch in water to force the roots to grow in mid of December, or shall I place them in small pot with soil by putting bulb in the up without covering the bulb and the roots will grow in the soil by watering them regularly? Note that I will keep the bulbs one more month in the fridge from 15.12.2016 to 15.01.2017. I need to know if the above procedures are correct to get beautiful tulip flowers in my green house.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
The chilling time of 12-16 weeks (depending on the variety) at the proper temperatures is a minimum, so I believe you can keep your bulbs in the refrigerator for many months as you plan and they will still be fine. Bulbs chilled for less than the minimum time won't produce flowers.
Tulip bulbs can be forced either in soil or in water as you describe. I think certain varieties of tulip do better with either technique, though. If using water, make sure the bulb is not touching the water (because that would cause rot) but the bottom of the bulb should be close to the water, supported by pebbles, marbles, etc, so roots can grow into the water.