Bulbs : : Southern Recommended
Most bulbs do well through Zone 7a in the South. In Zones 7b-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 shown below seem to handle the cooling process and
southern heat pretty well. Some species tulips can return for several
years - namely Sylvestris, Bakeri, Clusiana Lady Jane, Clusiana Tubergen's Gem
There are a number of daffodils that do well through Zone 8 (see below)
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
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.
Pre-chill and plant immediately. Treat as annuals.
All of the varieties below should do fine in southern areas
according to the above treatments.