How cold for tulips?

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How cold for tulips?

Postby ms_kase » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:28 pm

Hi,
Gardening is a new hobby of mine, I have a lot of enthusiasm but not much talent unfortunately.

Anyway, I bought some beautiful tulips and they all came up lovely and flowered. I put them straight in the ground without pre-chilling them since I bought them so late in the season. Most of them are just at the stage where they're starting to die back, and I have to make a decision on whether to lift them or leave them in the ground.

I live in Sydney, on the North Shore, bordering the central coast and surrounded by the beautiful Kuring-gai National Park. It gets pretty cold(ish) here in Winter, but not sure if it's cold enough to chill the tulips sufficiently. At a guess it gets down to about 5-6 degrees on a Winter night.

How cold do the tulip bulbs need to be for good flowering next year?
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Re: How cold for tulips?

Postby Stormgirl » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:26 am

REALLY cold.

Sydney won't do it...you will need to lift them and try next year...even then I doubt you'll have much success, but it's always fun to prove someone else wrong! :D

None of those bulbs that need chilling do terribly well in Sydney...by chilling they really mean 0c or below most nights.
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Re: How cold for tulips?

Postby hoddo » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:33 pm

I grew tulips a year or 2 ago and did a bit of reading on them around the web I may be wrong but this is what I concluded
Tulips are one of the few bulbs that grow next seasons flower (inside) as the bulb dies down. When you buy the bulbs they allready have the flower inside ready to go. If the bulb becomes too warm the flower will not develop. So as long as you keep them cool they usually always flower the first time. The problem getting them to flower again in warm areas is the bulb needs a long cold dying back period to produce the flower bud before the weather warms up and it stops developing or cooks it. My guess is if they are in tubs move them to a cool area after flowering, in the ground maby mulch will help keep the soil temp down. Bulb selection is important as some varietys are much more tolerant of the heat. Refrigerating the bulb before planting simulates the cold winter needed to bring the bulb from its dormant state and to start growing but it wont help if the bulb didnt have a long cool period after flowering to store energy and produce the new flower
hope this is correct and of some help or interest
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Re: How cold for tulips?

Postby ms_kase » Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:22 pm

Thanks for your replies, so I guess the warmish days we've been getting of 25ish may have already killed next year's flower? :( Most information I've read says to leave them to die back for six weeks, it'll get warmer in six weeks though. Is there a way I can speed up that process so that the bulbs store adequate food, but don't get overheated in the ground? It's a pity, I saw a ground thermometer in Bunnings on special the other day, I should have gotten it.

Anyways, I'll give planting them for next year a go, we'll see. If they don't flower, they don't flower.
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Re: How cold for tulips?

Postby Stormgirl » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:56 pm

I don't know. i've tried leaving them until the leaves die back but as soon as I pull them out, they've already divided into several bulblets which are not large enough to flower again.

After many years and lots of experimentation(and money wasted) I've just stopped buying anything that's not for our climate. Because no matter how hard we try, they just won't do what we want them to. (I've even tried throwing ice on the ground in a fit of madness. :lol: )
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Re: How cold for tulips?

Postby Stormgirl » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:57 pm

Sorry, by that I mean, yes, they'll flower first year but not the next.
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Re: How cold for tulips?

Postby clarissa » Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:49 am

Even in suburban Melbourne, they are not easy to grow. They are more suited to the Dandenongs, (or perhaps the Blue Mountains) I'm told that putting them in the crisper in the fridge, about 5 weeks before planting in Autumn, helps, otherwise you probably won't see them for a 2nd season. However, that really doesn't solve your problem, as it seems as if it is just too hot in Sydney, when they are actually dying down.
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Re: How cold for tulips?

Postby dalelesley » Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:06 pm

I live in Tasmania and where I live it gets down to minus 4 on a regular basis in winter. Summer time gets to anywhere between 18-30 but mostly in the high teens. But having said that we are under the ozone hole so even though it sounds cool it is quite a bit hotter than you think. It's great for my peonies which need the cold to get them going but I have found my tulips do not do so well after the first season. So for me I just plant up my gladioli's, ranunculus, and Anomies which give me a good show year after year without having to lift them I put plenty of mulch over the bulbs in the summer months to keep the ground cool. Hope that is of some help to you. Happy gardening.
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