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Tulip World Garden FAQs

  1. What is the difference between hardiness and suitable zones?
  2. What is the difference between naturalizing and perennializing?
  3. How do I keep pests (rodents and deer) from disturbing my bulbs and their blooms?
  4. I see that most of your perennials are listed as plant starts or bare roots. What does that mean?
  5. How will the pH level of soil affect the growth and performance of the flower bulbs?
  6. How do I “artificially chill” my bulbs prior to planting if I live in a zone that does not receive much of a winter?
  7. Are there any fall bulbs that do not need the chilling period for zones 8 through 10?
  8. When is the best time to transplant my bulbs to a different area of my yard?
  9. Why aren’t tulips, daffodils, and other bulbs available for spring planting?
  10. If I don’t get a chance to plant my bulbs in the appropriate season can I save them for the following year?

1. What is the difference between hardiness and suitable zones?

The Hardiness zone refers to the areas where an item will survive without receiving any special attention (removing in the fall/winter for protection, artificially chilling, etc.)

The Suitable zone refers to the areas where an item can perform well but may require special attention (removing in the fall/winter for protection, artificially chilling, etc.) and may not come back year after year.

2. What is the difference between naturalizing and perennializing?

Naturalizing is a bulb's ability to multiply. This means the bulbs will spread over time and should be given extra space to do so. You may need to divide at in the future to continually increase the number of blooms.

Perennializing refers to a bulb's ability to return year after year only if it is hardy in its zone. This means the item can be expected to return for multiple years just as vigorously as the first year without special attention.

3. How do I keep pests (rodents and deer) from disturbing my bulbs and their blooms?

One of the best ways to keep pests away from digging up bulbs is to lay down chicken wire over the area you are planting the bulbs and cover it with soil. The holes on the chicken wire are big enough that the bulb can still emerge through. We do offer liquid fence repellent for purchase on our website.

To keep pests away from eating blooms we recommend spraying the area with a repellent spray. This can be effective for up to 2 weeks even through rain. You can also use dried blood sprinkled in the soil and the area to keep pests away.

4. I see that most of your perennials are listed as plant starts or bare roots. What does that mean?

A bare root perennial is a part of the root that was harvested from a perennial in its dormant state. Plant starts are similar but will mostly likely already be showing green growth coming from the it’s root system.

Both plant starts and bare roots should be planted in spring while they are still dormant or in the early phases of growth. It is very important to plant all our items as soon as possible after receiving them.

5. How will the pH level of soil affect the growth and performance of the flower bulbs?

Flower bulbs' ideal pH level to produce their true bloom and color is between 6 and 7. When the pH level is above or below the ideal range it can cause variation in color of the blooms, which can lead to an unexpected flower color. You can always bring a soil sample to your local garden center or buy your own soil testing kit to check the soil you have at home.

6. How do I “artificially chill” my bulbs prior to planting if I live in a zone that does not receive much of a winter?

Simply, place the bulbs in a paper bag, or planted in potting soil in a pot. Place the bag or pot in the refrigerator for 10-16 weeks. It is very important that you keep the bulbs away from fruit and vegetables because they produce “ethylene” as the produce ripens which can cause the bulbs to rot. Also, keep the bulbs away from any excess moisture if possible. After the 10-16 week period has passed remove the bulbs and place in a sunny location. This process of “forcing” requires a lot of energy from the bulbs; therefore they will typically only last one growing season under these conditions. You can read more about forcing on the Bulb Blog.

Please note: forcing bulbs outside their natural environment voids the guarantee of the plants growing and blooming.

7. Are there any fall bulbs that do not need the chilling period for zones 8 through 10?

Yes! Rock Garden Daffodil, Dutch Iris, Anemone, Ranunculus, Amaryllis, Neapolitanum Allium, Crocus, Siberian Scilla and a few Lily varieties can be planted without the cooling period. Just check the hardiness zone.

8. When is the best time to transplant my bulbs to a different area of my yard?

The best time to transplant any bulb is during their dormant season so you do not disturb and new growth. This can be tricky to find the bulbs when they are dormant, so we suggest marking the location of the bulbs when they are originally planted or actively growing.

9. Why aren’t tulips, daffodils, and other bulbs available for spring planting?

Most fall-planted bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth require a chilling period of 10-16 weeks. The cool temperature activates the process inside the bulbs which produces growth and allows for the plant to flower in the spring. Not only are these items only meant to be planted in the fall, that is also the only time they can be purchased because they are harvested in late summer.

10. If I don’t get a chance to plant my bulbs in the appropriate season can I save them for the following year?

Flower bulbs are the most successful when they are plant during the same harvest season. It is not recommended that you attempt to store bulbs for the following year. If there is a reason that you cannot plant the bulbs in the same season, they should be chilled by placing them in the refrigerator or basement, or they should be planted as soon as possible depending on the variety of bulb and season. For example, if you purchase a fall planted bulb and the ground is already frozen, they should be placed in the refrigerator in a paper bag and then planted in the spring. For spring planted bulbs, if left unplanted, they should be planted as soon as possible in the summer season. Even though it may not bloom the same year, it may return the next year.

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