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Q.Potted Tulips & Spring Bulbs

Zone Forest City, IA 50436 | Anonymous added on March 2, 2019 | Answered

I potted 3 big pots of tulips and spring bulbs last fall and put them in our unheated, dark garage. The garage is well insulated so that it doesn’t get below freezing. We live in north central Iowa (50436). I just discovered that everything is growing. We’ve had a few days in the 40s and snow is melting, but it’s way too early. We still have a lot of winter to go. I don’t know what to do about temperature, light or water. Please advise. Thank you!

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Answered on March 2, 2019

The ground is probably still frozen and soil is much colder than your garage. Every year there are worried questions about bulbs emerging from in-ground too early. In that case, the return of cold weather stops further growth and the plant is fine unless the flower bud is exposed. You have 3 options. One is to put them in the refrigerator or to pot them up and put them outdoors where the temperature is colder in hopes of halting emergence. Water them if growth continues and move them where there is sunshine. If cold returns, less than 25 F, they need to go back into the garage overnight. Option 2 is to pot them up, bring them indoors and give them fertilizer, adequate water, and lots of sunlight. After blooming is over, harden them off over a week or two then plant them if your soil isn't too wet to work. Or simply keep them in containers until the foliage has yellowed, cut off the foliage, and plant them after your frost free date. Option 2 is less risky in my opinion if you have room for the containers and a sunny window.

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