Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Early Bulb Pop-Ups

As we have seen over the past few months, winter has had a fickle mind this year. With the very mild start into the winter months, many of you might have noticed bulbs coming up.

While it is unnatural for Spring bulbs to send up their shoots before the New Year, don’t be alarmed. A really cold month early in the season followed by a very warm stretch can trigger flower stem extension a month ahead of the normal time, but there's a lot of antifreeze in these plants so they can survive just fine with their leaves above ground over winter. And, more importantly, flower stem development occurs independently of the leaves.
Most bulbs, like daffodils and tulips, need at least 10 weeks of cold temperatures before they shoot that flower stem up. And the bulbs that bloom the latest in nature, like the big ornamental alliums, take even longer.

So everyone who has greenery up already has no need to worry, and don’t do anything to try and 'help' the bulbs. They may bloom a month earlier than usual, or they may bloom pretty much on schedule if it takes the soil an especially long time to warm up in the Spring, but they should bloom just fine. The leaves are tough and the flowers are still safe inside the bulbs.

Just warn people especially not to cover them with a lot of any kind of mulch to try and protect them. They don't need any help, and frozen mulch can do a lot more damage to emerging flowers than weird weather ever could.