Tulips

I planted tulip bulbs last fall, although a little later than I probably should have, and they look healthy but the stem to the flower is 1/2 an inch long. What gives? This is not the first time I have had this happen either. Why can't I grow tulips? MJ
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On 3/16/11 6:51 AM, mj wrote:

Where are you? What is your climate?
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Sorry, I should have said. I am in Eastern North Carolina. I have done a little looking and it seems I should have refrigerated them for 8 weeks before I planted? Seems crazy, I don't think the little local stores have them in 8 weeks prior.
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On 3/16/11 7:23 AM, mj wrote:

If you are in an area where the weather is strongly influenced by the ocean (e.g., as far east as possible), you might not get enough winter chill for tulips. They actually do best if there is snow but without the soil freezing at the depth where they are planted.
Where I live, the annual average of winter chill -- cumulative hours below 45°F from November through March -- is about 350 hours. We get no snow. Even with refrigerating the bulbs for 6-8 weeks before planting, we have to treat most tulips as annuals, discarding them after one season of bloom.
Some tulip species, however, can naturalize in my climate. I have "lady" tulips (Tulipa clausiana), which repeat reliably every spring. But these are not the classic "Dutch" tulips.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Very likely you planted too deep... give them another year or two... bulbs will eventually adjust to their proper depth.
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On Mar 16, 11:53 am, Brooklyn1 <Gravesend1> wrote:

I don't think that is it. They are in burried pots that are at most 8 inches deep.
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wrote:

Why didn't you say that in the first place... you did not plant bulbs, you planted pots. At the end of your growing season get those bulbs out of the pots and plant the bulbs directly in the ground.
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On Mar 16, 2:30 pm, Brooklyn1 <Gravesend1> wrote:

How exactly do the bulbs know they are in pots? What is the "ground" advantage?
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On 3/16/2011 2:52 PM, mj wrote: snip....

The bulbs 'know' that they are in pots when their fine roots come to the pot wall and can't go any further. Seriously, there are plants which, for various reasons such as rampant spreading (bamboo) and seasonal removal to a greenhouse (Brugmansia) , are planted in oversized pots which are placed in the ground but tulips aren't in that select group. Tulips will benefit from free access to soil moisture and nutrients and spread their roots to the full extent possible before winter cold comes along and puts them into dormancy. The very best grade of 'perennial' tulip bulb can be placed in the ground and put on a good show for a number of years with no attention at all beyond 'popping' the flower stalks after they go brown.
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Ok I'll buy that, makes sense, but I have had the same result in the garden.
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