What can I do with my forced bulbs?

By Ellen Brown

Question:

I am in zone 7b. I received some forced bulbs for my birthday, and they were lovely; however, I'd like to know what my options are at this point since the hyacinth and the daffodil are through blooming,
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and soon the cala lilly will also be through.

I believe that I'm supposed to wait until the leaves get brown and
dry, then remove the bulb from the soil and store it in a cool dry
place until fall and then plant them. Is that my only option? Might I
be successful if I transplanted these "plants" right out into my
garden at this point so that they get established before it winters
here, or am I taking a risk that the disturbance will affect the
bulb's receipt of the nutrition from its greenery?

I don't want to take a risk, but for me it's also a risk that I might
forget in the fall that I have bulbs I'm supposed to plant or I
might forget where I've hidden them in the garage or something like
that. I'm just putting this out there so that I know what my
options are and what others have tried as far as after-care of their
forced bulbs. Thanks so much.

Hardiness Zone: 7b

Tina from Ashland, OR

Answer:

Hi Tina,

I'm going to agree with Chloe and Carol on this one. If you're worried about looking after your bulbs over the summer, go ahead and plant them. After all, from now until fall, nearly as many things could go wrong above ground for your bulbs as below ground. My advice would be to keep the greenery going as long as possible. As soon as the foliage dies back naturally, trim it off, find a suitable spot in the garden (pending suitable temperatures, of course), and plop them in the ground. Don't forget to mark the spot. When you plant them in the garden, try to use at least some of the dirt from their original pots if you can. Make sure the bulbs are firm and free of mold when you plant them, otherwise they are probably a lost cause.

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Try to let go of any expectations you have of how they will perform in the future. Bulbs that have been forced indoors do not always perform as well when replanted outdoors. Then again, some perform even better! After you plant them, just let them go about their bulb business and see what happens. If they survive until next season, they may not bloom until the following year. Sometimes it takes a season to reset their internal clocks.

Happy gardening!

Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

Answers:

What can I do with my forced bulbs?

Plant them in the yard this spring. If you save them until fall, they might rot. I have done this many times with Easter flowers, and it always works for me. They may not bloom next spring, but will be stronger the following year. (03/26/2008)

By Carol in PA

What can I do with my forced bulbs?

I second Carol's advice, which has worked fine over the years and the winters are colder where I live than they are in Oregon. When you put the bulbs in the ground, leave the foliage on and allow it to die and turn yellow before you cut it off. I'm not sure this is necessary, but I think it might help the plant grow next year. (03/26/2008)

By ChloeA

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