Spring-blooming bulbs

Spring Bulbs

Q. I didn’t get around to planting my spring-blooming bulbs last fall.  What should I do with them?

A. Hopefully the bulbs were stored in a cool location where temperatures remained above freezing. Carefully inspect the bulbs. Discard any bulbs that have soft areas or fungal spots. Plant the bulbs in containers as soon as possible, filling the containers with a sterile, all-purpose potting soil. Water them well, making sure that the containers drain properly, and store them in a cool location that will not freeze, preferably between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The time that the bulbs will need to remain in cold storage will vary by bulb. Most bulbs need exposure to cold temperatures for an average of 10 to 12 weeks in order to force them into bloom.  Potted bulbs can also be stored in a refrigerator, away from fruit. Ripening fruit can produce ethylene and may prevent the bulbs from blooming. No matter where the pots are stored, check the soil periodically and water when necessary. As late winter and early spring temperatures rise, expose the plants to more light, which will encourage top growth and bud production.