Planting & Care
Recommendations for Southern Planting
Most bulbs do well through Zone 7 in the South. In Zones 7-10, where soil temperatures do not cool down sufficiently in winter, and spring weather is often very warm, many bulbs perform poorly unless they are pre-chilled – i.e., refrigerated for 8-10 weeks prior to planting. Here is a rundown of the bulbs we carry and what special treatment they require, if any, to perform well in the Deep South.
Tulips need to be pre-chilled to bloom well in Zones 7b-10. They should be placed in the refrigerator (NOT freezer) in October for 8-10 weeks, then planted in December when the weather cools down. Without chilling, plants will be stunted and the flowers will open down in the leaves. Once you take the bulbs out of the fridge, plant them right away. Don’t let the bulbs sit in the sun while you are digging.
In the Deep South (and much of California), tulips should be considered an annual and new ones planted each year. We have lots of southern customers who are comfortable with planting every year but it is really a budget decision. The tulips on our Southern Recommended page seem to handle the cooling process and southern heat pretty well. Some species tulips can return for several years – namely Bakeri Liliac Wonder, Clusiana Tubergen’s Gem, Linifolia and Tinka.
There are a number of daffodils on our Southern Recommended page that do well through Zone 8 and should come back. They can be planted in November without any pre-chilling. We don’t recommend daffodils in southern Zones 9 and 10. On the other hand, most daffodils do well through Zone 9 in the West, if given sufficient moisture. Some will even perform well in Zone 10.
These need chilling. They may come back for a few years in Zone 8, then peter out. Tommies (Crocus tommasinianus) are the best return growers in the South.
Similiar to tulips. Chill and plant, but don’t expect more than one year of bloom.
Grape Hyacinth (Muscari)
We recommend that grape hyacinths be pre-chilled. They may come back for a year or two in Zone 8.
Most alliums struggle in Zones 8-10 in the South, so we don’t recommend them. Pre-chilling does not help them cope with southern heat.
Naturalizes readily in Zones 8 and 9 without special treatment. We don’t recommend it for Zone 10.
Spring Snowflake (Leucojum)
Does well in Zones 8 and 9 without special treatment. We don’t recommend it for Zone 10.
Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides)
A good choice in Zone 8. Does not need pre-chilling. We don’t recommend it for Zones 9 and 10.