How to Grow Spring Tulips and Daffodils Even If You Missed Planting Bulbs in Late Fall

Tulips in bloom
Tulips in bloom
Daffodils in spring
Daffodils in spring
If you have missed the ideal weeks to plant your bulbs, place them in the refrigerator for a week
If you have missed the ideal weeks to plant your bulbs, place them in the refrigerator for a week
Crocus bulbs bloom in a variety of colors
Crocus bulbs bloom in a variety of colors

Nothing says spring time like a garden full of colorful flowers — daffodils, crocus, lilies, tulips. And you can have that, so long as you are thinking about your springtime blooms before your garden begins to look its wintry worst.

It's easy to achieve a garden of spring blooms, but it does require planning since the best time to plant bulbs is early- to mid-fall. Think late September to mid October. You see, the ideal time to get those flower bulbs into the ground is 4-6 weeks before the first frost. The bulbs then use the "dormant" winter months to establish their roots.

That is what you are supposed to do. So what happens when life gets in the way? What happens if you forget to plant your spring flower bulbs in November or December? You still want your pretty spring flowers, but the first frost has already come, or is coming any day? Do not despair! Even if you miss the ideal window in fall to plant bulbs for spring flowers, you can still cheat your way to a colorful springtime garden!

All you have to do it place your flower bulbs in the refrigerator for about a week before you plant them. This chills the bulbs and tricks them into behaving as though they were put into the ground weeks earlier. Voilà!

After the bulbs have chilled for a week, remove them from the refrigerator and plant them as you would normally: with the pointy side at the top and in a sunny patch of soil with good drainage.

You can plant your bulbs in a row for a quasi birder of blooms, or you can plant them in a thick patch for a more wild, unkempt look. Either way, you are looking forward to a sunny, colorful garden come spring. And the beauty of bulbs is that they are perennials, which means they will return year after year.

Planting Flower Bulbs

Bulbs that have chilled in the fridge for a week, ready for planting
Bulbs that have chilled in the fridge for a week, ready for planting
A bulb in a hole in the ground, ready to be covered
A bulb in a hole in the ground, ready to be covered
A cluster of bulbs planted close to one another can give a bright, chaotic look to a spring garden
A cluster of bulbs planted close to one another can give a bright, chaotic look to a spring garden
As spring dawns, the bulbs start to flower.
As spring dawns, the bulbs start to flower.

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Comments 4 comments

Gill Hills 4 years ago

Thanks I wasn't sure if daffodil bulbs should go in the fridge.


s.carver profile image

s.carver 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Yes, putting bulbs in the fridge is an easy way to "cheat" Mother Nature if you forget to plant your spring bulbs in the fall. You can still have beautiful spring blooms this way! Good luck.


thoughtfulgirl2 profile image

thoughtfulgirl2 4 years ago from East Coast

Thank-you for this hint, yup life got in the way this fall/winter, and I didn't plant my tulip bulbs. So, it is now April 26, but I'm going to cool them in the fridge anyway and try this trick. I just didn't think it would work because it's only a week compared to all winter cooling.


s.carver profile image

s.carver 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Good luck! It has worked for me, though it is certainly hard to find bulbs to chill/plant so late in the season!

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