Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Freezing temperatures and tulips

This entry was done in 2009; I'm adding this little blurb in March, 2010, for all you people who ended up here by way of Google:  A hard freeze will not hurt your tulips.  Put your fears to rest.  

I knew we were in for a hard freeze last night. All my tulips are up, so I went looking on the Internet to see if I should cover them. The answer was "no".

This morning when it was fourteen degrees, I bent over and touched a tulip blade. It was rock-hard, and it seemed strange to me that any plant except grasses would be able to totally freeze like that and still have life in it.

A couple hours later when the ground had started thawing, I once again touched the tulip plant; it was no longer frozen, and looked and felt absolutely normal, as it does this evening. We're supposed to get another hard freeze tonight, and I assume it won't do any damage to my tulips either. I do know that a freeze while they're blooming destroys the flowers, but it'll be awhile before they bloom.

I don't have a lot of experience with tulips. I tend to stick with easy annuals like impatiens, marigolds, pansies and such; or else flowers that come back year after year, requiring no effort on my part, like iris and peonies and tall phlox.

Tulips really aren't cheap, and they're only good for a couple of years. But I do love them, so last fall I splurged.

Once we get out of the current cold snap, I'll have a report on the lettuce and radishes that were up last weekend.


  1. Several years ago it came a snow on my Tulips. It looked weird seeing flowers blooming through the snow. I hope yours will be ok. Helen

  2. Nothing is blooming yet here but it will be well below freezing here tonight and tomorrow night. I think that lettuce and radishes are hardy and can withstand frost too. They were always one of the first things my Mom planted every year.
    Keep Warm! 'On Ya'-ma

  3. My mama used to say if you take the bulbs up you can make them last a few more years.

  4. Anonymous9:28 PM

    One winter in 1998 I had planted a ton of tulips in my flowerbed and the following March they all were peeking through and some had bloomed-it had been a mild winter. Then the next week we had a blizzard and they were all covered and frozen solid. A few days later it was 65 degrees and they all perked right back up, even the tulips that had flowers on them!

    My lilac had started peeking out last week and yesterday we had some snow, and tomorrow we are supposed to have 9 inches and a high in the 20's so i don't think I'll get to enjoy my lilacs this year. My elderberry had all of it's leaves out and it looks like it might weather the snow.

    I hope all your plants weather through! have a great weekend, Jeff

  5. Thanks for the experience w flowering Tulips. I bought a bunch of spring flowers yesterday, concerned that the buds and flowers would freeze up. Going down to 26 fahr next few nights so I'll plant em and see what happens. Looking forward to having some colour in the garden for my wife and daughter when they get back from their spring vacation.

  6. Thanks for the post, the owner of my local gardening store said the same thing, but did suggest covering our begonias with a tarp on burlap. Also, your bulbs will last longer and brighter if after they bloom you wait for the green leaves to turn brown (energy being sucked back into the bulbs)... then pull them out and store in cool dry breathable containers/bags. Replant them in the fall.


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