Garden Solutions Center Ask the Expert

Got a question? Ask and find your answer right here.

Question

I live in the Northeast and have a garden for the first time in 10 years. A friend of mine said to wait until I felt like I needed gloves and a warm sweatshirt before planting bulbs for spring. Being a bit warm blooded, I waited until this weekend before planting. Alas, the ground is already frozen solid! Even with a bulb planter, it was impossible to adequately remove dirt. Is it possible to throw the bulbs into planters with potting soil and leave them out at this point? Or did I miss the deadline?

Answers

3 answers

  1. Hi casocprof. The ideal time to plant spring-blooming bulbs in the Northeast is September to October. Who knew that cold weather and winter freezes and snow would arrive so early this year! You did miss the deadline for planting in the ground, but you still have two options that you can do.

    Option 1 is to plant the bulbs in large containers filled with potting mix or potting soil (not garden soil). Treat these as you would any potted plants, but be sure to plant the bulbs away from the sides of the pots so the bulbs don't freeze. And it's best to locate the pot in an area that's sheltered from future freezes. Once the ground has thawed and winter freezes have ceased you can transplant the bulbs into the ground or let them bloom in the pot.

    Option 2 is to plant the bulbs on top of the frozen ground and pile up to 10 inches of soil on top of the bulbs, then mulch the mound. But I personally like option 1 better. Good luck!

    1. In response to Kris_Wetherbee

      Thank you! The same friend who suggested waiting until sweatshirt weather also said that I could keep them in the refrigerator until the spring thaw. But I like option 1 as well.

    2. In response to Kris_Wetherbee

      FYI: Spring-blooming bulbs can only be refrigerated a short time--up until the time when they are sold and shipped. They will dry out if stored in the refrigerator over winter unless they are in a container with potting soil and then watered as needed, which may be more frequent in a refrigerator's drying environment. That said, the refrigerator is a good place to dry certain herbs!

Ask the Expert

Recent Activities