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How To Grow Bulbs Outside Your Zone

How To Grow Bulbs Outside Your Zone

Have you ever caught yourself wistfully thinking, “I wish I could grow tulips where I live, but the winters don’t get cold enough” or “I love dahlias but they just don’t grow well here”? Well, we’re not going to tell you it’s easy to grow flowering bulbs outside of their preferred zones, but it’s entirely possible! If you follow our tips, of course.

How to Grow Flowering Bulbs Outside Your Zone

If a bulb doesn’t easily grow in your neck of the woods, it can still grow and thrive — it simply needs a little extra love and thoughtfulness. Be mindful and deliberate with what, when and where you plant these darlings, and you can enjoy a season of your favorite flowers.

  1. Adjust your expectations. You may need to do a fair amount of experimenting to be successful with out-of-zone bulbs, and they might not bloom as vigorously as those planted in their preferred zone. To make up for that, plan to plant a few more than you think you will need — you may be surprised at how the extra quantity provides you with the type of show you’d like to see.
  2. Focus on your favorites. Unless your time is 100% devoted to gardening and you’re up for the challenge, we suggest choosing a couple of your favorite out-of-zone bulbs and focusing on them to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  3. Do your research. It’s necessary to fully understand what these bulbs need and do your best to replicate those conditions. For example, tulips, daffodils, and crocus need winter chilling time. If your area doesn’t get that type of cold weather, you’ll need to pre-chill these bulbs starting in mid-to-late October. Conversely, if you live in a cooler climate but want to grow a heat and sun-loving bulb like cannas, be sure to plant them in the sunniest spot you have.
  4. Zone your garden. If you plant out-of-zone bulbs all throughout your garden, you may find the maintenance a bit overwhelming, Instead, create a zone in your garden for those bulbs that need a little extra care and attention — it’ll streamline your garden maintenance and make your experience much more pleasant.
  5. Plant them closer to your house. Closer to the house=easier maintenance. We like easier maintenance, and we’re betting you do, too. Out of sight is the same as out of mind, and these bulbs just won’t do well with neglect.
  6. Plant where they will create the most impact. After all, these are bulbs that you love so much that you’re willing to put in some extra work, so be sure to plant them where you’ll enjoy them the most, like your front entryway, your back patio or your deck.
  7. Be okay with viewing some bulbs as annuals. You might be perfectly happy with a tulip show in your container plants, knowing that they will not bloom next year and you’ll need to replant. But if they’re your favorites, just view it as an annual gift to yourself that makes your heart sing.

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  • Jenny Peterson