Is Forcing Tulip Bulbs in Freezer a Recommended Practice?

Is Forcing Tulip Bulbs in Freezer Possible? Are you planning to force it into the freezer? This idea might be based on the fact that tulips are native to cold regions.

A cold period is pivotal for the development of tulips. It encourages the bulbs to grow from the inside so that the tulips will bloom magnificently when they are in season.

Thus, it is not strange to see people living in warmer areas chilling their tulip bulbs. They try to emulate the natural habitat of this flowering plant.

However, using a freezer to force tulip bulbs is not advisable. It is because the overly low temperature may kill the tulips instead.

Gardeners are recommended to chill them in the fridge instead, at a temperature around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tips to Force Tulip Bulbs

Now that you understand forcing tulip bulbs into the freezer is not recommended, you need to know some tips about chilling the bulb. An improper chilling process can cause problems instead. Here are some of the tips:

Avoid putting the bulbs with ripening fruits

There is a reason why you should not mix the placement of tulip bulbs with any ripe fruit. Ripe fruit emits a certain gas called ethylene.

This gas causes significant damage to the developing tulip buds. Because of this interaction, the flower may not develop.

Keep the bulbs in a breathable container

A mesh bag or paper bag is recommended to put your bulbs. A breathable container allows air circulation, which prevents mold development.

Time the moment perfectly

You may want to start your forcing process before the end of March. Generally, tulip bulbs require many weeks in the chill spot.

Steps to Force the Tulip Bulbs

What are the steps of forcing the tulip bulbs?

  • Select the bulbs that you want to force. They should feel firm and free of any blemish.
  • Store the bulbs in a cool and dark place with a temperature ranging from 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit (the chilling takes about 12 to 16 weeks).
  • You can immediately move the bulbs to their designated pots when the period is over.
  • The bulbs are then buried inside the soil, so only the tips are visible.
  • The pots should also be placed in a chill and dark spot until the leaves appear above the ground.
  • Once the leaves appear, you can move the pots to a bright spot that is not directly exposed to the sunlight.

Taking Care of Your Tulip Bulbs

How do you take care of your growing bulbs? Here are some tips that experienced tulip farmers give:

Limit the water supply

Excess water is the enemy of your tulips. When the soil is fully soaked, the tulip bulbs become more vulnerable to fungal infestation and diseases.

You only need to water the plant if you live in a dry place. It is also necessary to provide a good drainage system to limit moisture.

Feed tulips with nutrients at the right time

Tulips require a lot of nutrients, but you need to give them the nutrients at the right time. Composting is an annual event for the plant. You should also provide fertilizer when the leaves are growing in the springtime.

Removing deadheads

Dead tulip heads must be removed immediately when you see them. However, you should not tamper with the leaves and just let them be.

The Varieties of Adaptive Tulips

Since forcing tulip bulbs in a freezer or in general is tough, you may want to consider some tulip varieties that are known to be hardy enough, regardless of your local climate.

The first variety that is often recommended for warm climates is the Darwin hybrid tulip. This tulip variety has an interesting color combination of maroon and yellow. The bottom part is wider, while the top is narrow.

Species tulips are also recommended if you live in warmer climates. Some varieties included in this category are Whittall’s, Crocus, Lady, and Turkestan tulips.

You will not need to perform the forcing steps because these tulips will likely bloom earlier than the other varieties.

It is also considered low-maintenance because you do not need to go out of your way to ensure its longevity.

Preparation for the Next Blooming Season

Tulips are expected to live for years. However, you may not see your plant bloom the following year without proper preparation. Here is how to prep your precious tulips:

  • Wait until the foliage withers, then dies after blooming.
  • Dig the tulip bulbs out of the soil, then clean the bulbs from debris.
  • Keep the bulbs in a breathable container.
  • Store the container in a cool place to be planted in the fall season.

Forcing tulip bulbs in the freezer or refrigerator has some risks. You may not want to do it if the stems of your tulips are short. That will cause the bulbs to experience blooming flowers later on.

Scroll to Top