Should I chill my spring flowering bulbs is one of the questions we get asked most frequently here at NZ Bulbs. Along with, do I put them in the freezer? When do I start chilling? And, what do I do if my bulbs aren't arriving until later?
Never fear, with over 60 years experience growing bulbs in New Zealand, we've got the answers to all your spring bulb questions.
Should I chill my spring flowering bulbs?
Yes - you may need to chill your spring flowering bulbs - but only tulips and hyacinths. And it's only essential if you experience fewer than five frosts a winter.
In saying that, even if you do get enough natural chilling in winter, fridge chilling can still give benefits - taller stems and earlier flowering.
Tulips and hyacinths are native to areas which experience quite cold winters and they need this cold period for the bulb to complete the development of the flower bud deep inside. Sure signs you should have chilled your bulbs are if they produced unusually short stems or the bulbs failed to flower at all.
Do different types of tulips require different chilling?
Some tulip varieties require less chilling and are more suitable for planting in warmer areas like Auckland. Darwin Hybrid tulips are the most suitable types for warmer areas. If you are in a warmer area and want to grow all the colours available in the Single tulip range, the flamboyant Parrot and Peony types, or the graceful Lily tulips, then we strongly recommend chilling as long as possible.
WHEN TO CHILL
Donít start chilling until late March Ė too early and youíll stunt the flower bud development. Any time from late March up until around mid/late May is a great time to start chilling.
HOW TO CHILL
ALTERNATIVES TO CHILLING
A number of things may help you get good tulip and hyacinth flowers without chilling:
WHEN TO PLANT
Ideally, chill for a minimum of four to eight weeks. But up to 12-16 weeks is fine. Once they're chilled, and the soil temperatures are cooler, it's time to start planting. They can go in the ground any time up to around early June.
For those of you in warmer areas waiting for your bulbs to arrive, remember the Manawatū (where we are) is cooler and the natural chilling process will be under way already at the nursery before you get your bulbs. Just pop them in the fridge for the rest of the required time when you get your order.
Article Posted: 31/01/2024 19:13:54