How to Refrigerate Bulbs


Many spring-blooming bulbs need a period of dormancy in the cold in order to bloom in the spring. If you plant bulbs in the fall, normal winter weather takes care of chilling them for you. But if you live in a warmer climate, or you want to plant bulbs in the spring, you'll need to replicate winter conditions by placing the bulbs in your refrigerator. Refrigerate your bulbs properly and they'll reward you with colorful blooms.

Step 1

Purchase tulip, hyacinth or crocus bulbs three to four months ahead of planting. In areas with mild winters, plan to plant bulbs in late December or early January.

Step 2

Place the bulbs in a mesh or paper bag. Put all the bulbs of one kind in a single bag. Label the bags with a marker, indicating the type of bulb.

Step 3

Place the bags in the refrigerator. A vegetable crisper is a good location, but the bulbs should be kept separate from all other produce.

Step 4

Leave the bulbs alone for 12 to 16 weeks, until ready to plant.

Step 5

Remove the bulbs from the refrigerator and plant immediately.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never store flower bulbs with fruit. The ethylene gas in fruit can be harmful to bulbs. Don't store bulbs in plastic bags as this can encourage moisture buildup and mold.

Things You'll Need

  • Mesh or paper bag
  • Marker


  • Clemson Extension: Spring Flowering Bulbs
  • Houston Grows: How to Get Spring Color From Falls Bulbs

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida: Monthly Flower Care Calender
Keywords: chilling bulbs, tulip bulbs, refrigerate bulbs

About this Author

Cynthia James is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from Modern Bride to Popular Mechanics. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she has a degree in economics. Before turning to freelancing full time, James worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.