Enjoy, belay, then bury those forced bulb plants

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Forced bulbs are beautiful indoors during winter, but then they can become an eyesore. Many are hardy and so can move into your garden. But even if you can dig a hole you can't just toss the bulbs out into late winter cold and expect them to make it. 

I bought three big pots of spring bulbs... want to plant them in the garden now. - C.P. -


Hardy species like tulips, daffs and hyacinths can become long term garden residents. However, they need to be gradually hardened off to late winter/spring cold this first year. Otherwise they can die in the transition from a warm house to cold air and soil.

Hardening off

Set the pot outdoors each day for three or four days, bring it in at night, then de-pot and plant the bulbs. Or just hold the plant in a cool bright room until the weather's more settled.

Plant the bulbs deeper. They're planted shallow in a pot. So set them deeper into the garden, with at least 6 inches of soil over the bulb's nose. This will bury some foliage -- that's okay.

Why deep is good for bulbs

Shallow-planted bulbs in a garden suffer P-trouble: They perish, emerge prematurely and get frosted, or proliferate wildly because they're too moist all summer, becoming too crowded to bloom.

As long as the soil's well drained, deep is much better. We plant tulips, daffs and hyacinths 10-12" deep, minor bulbs about 4-5".