tulips in containers

Asked September 17, 2016, 12:05 PM EDT

I just received some tulip bulbs that I would like to plant in containers for bloom next spring. I plan to use 18" plastic pots. I have an unheated shed as well as an unheated attached garage I could store them in. However, even the attached garage isn't much warmer than outdoors during those really cold -20 days. I really don't have a place to bury the pots. Suggestions? Thanks, Cathy

Morrison County Minnesota spring bulbs tulips

1 Response

Thank you for the question. It sounds like there is a real danger of the bulbs freezing in your attached garage or shed so in general this isn't a good place for storage. Sometimes a wall shared by the garage and house stays a bit warmer-above freezing-than other places in the garage so that might be an option.
If it's not possible to bury the pots outdoors and cover them with thick mulch, you might consider storing them in your refrigerator. If you are going to force them indoors they will need at least 12-13 weeks of this cold treatment before blooming.
Read our publication about forcing tulips: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/houseplants/forcing-bulbs-for-indoor-beauty-in-winte... There is a section in this publication on how to properly store the bulbs in the refrigerator.

Good luck and thank you for contacting Extension.