|My daffodils, showing the damage from the last freeze on the tips. It is the middle of winter!|
What did people do before the internet? Call their local extension agency, or gardening talk radio show, I suppose. Not that those are bad things, but, I guess I just like my knowledge at my fingertips. Here is what I found:
It turns out that premature growth is no biggie. As long as the flower doesn't go to bud, that is. If the frost yellows or kills the leaves, they'll grow back in the spring. But if it already has a bud, the damage might be too much for this growing season. In that case, no spring flowers this year, but, it should be fine for years to come. But, don't be surprised if your bulb still flowers, despite the damage...mother nature can be determined!
If spring is right around the corner, you can try to save your buds by covering with leaves, straw, grass, sawdust, etc. Just cover till the frost is gone, and uncover when things warm up. Since it is just February here, I don't think that is an option for me. Winter should really be going strong for a full month more, here in Ohio. One other thing to consider, is if the problem is really mother nature, or if the bulbs were planted improperly. Improper planting can lead to premature sprouting as well. The planting depth is usually clearly labeled on the bulbs you buy, if not, a good rule of thumb is 3 times the plant's height. So, a 3 inch plant should be planted 9 inches deep! Secondly, they should be planted in the fall, after the soil is below 40 degrees. I know that wasn't my problem. The near snowy weather always serves as a reminder that I had better get my bulbs in the ground; I always end up planting in the bitter cold!
With a little luck, I'll be posting some pictures a month or two from now, of all my new bulbs that I purchased from our preschool fundraiser. Although a bit early, the bulbs and I have something in common...thinking spring!