Why Spring-Blooming Bulbs Need to Chill

If you wanna grow spring-blooming bulbs in Houston, you need to chill before you go ahead and get planting. Seriously though, those bad boys need to hang out in the cold for a while before they can get to blooming. In more Northern regions, you can plant them directly in the ground in fall, and then over the winter, the ground gets cold giving them the chill time they need to prepare for their big show in spring. But here in Houston, it doesn’t get too cold over the winter, so we gotta bring on the chill ourselves. 




Why Do Bulbs Need Cold? 

Non-tropical plants have natural cycles of active growth and dormancy that line up with the weather patterns of their environment. For flowering bulbs, winter cold coaxes them into a sort of hibernation, and once those temperatures start to rise, it signals to the plant that it’s time to bloom. This way, they won’t end up blooming too early, only to be covered by a big snow dump.

So, obviously we don’t have to worry about major snow dumps in Houston—the little amounts we so rarely receive aren’t enough to knock out cold-hardy spring flowers like the crocus. One benefit to this is that we can successfully grow these flowers at the end of autumn or in early spring—we just need to control the chilling process ourselves to trick them into thinking it’s winter. 


How To Chill Spring-Blooming Bulbs

Time to CHILL TFO (Chill in The Fridge, Okay?). The ideal temperature for chilling is under 40°F, which means your refrigerator is a perfect place to store your spring bloomers! Most spring-flowering varieties need 12–16 weeks of chill time, so around three months before you want to get them in the ground, toss them in a breathable mesh bag and pop them in the fridge. Make sure you don’t place them close to any fruit like apples or bananas, because the ethylene gas they release can actually stunt plant growth and inhibit flowering. 

After the chilling period, you can plant your bulbs in the ground or in containers. Remember to plant them with the pointy side facing upward; you can always check the package instructions for your chosen varieties just to make sure you’re planting them at the ideal depth. Water them well, and wait patiently for those green leaves to poke up from the soil, signaling the first signs of spring—yahoo!


The Most Popular Spring Bulbs That Need To Be Refrigerated

Planting tulips in spring is one of our favorite gardening rituals, and it results in a gorgeous display of easily cut flowers to add to bouquets and arrangements for Easter, Mother’s Day, or any other special occasion that calls for something beautiful. But tulips aren’t the only spring flower that you need to refrigerate before growing! Here’s a list of all the varieties you can pick up from Plants for All Seasons that need time to chill before planting:

  • Tulips
  • Crocuses
  • Hyacinths
  • Daffodils
  • Muscari
  • Snowdrops
  • Alliums
  • Irises
  • Siberian Squill 


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Kick off 2021 with a garden full of fresh spring flowers in a stunning spectrum of vibrant colors! We have plenty of varieties you can grow at home, so feel free to visit Plants for All Seasons in-store, or give us a call to place a telephone order and arrange for curbside pickup or home delivery. Have fun, and stay chill my dudes!