When to Plant Flower Bulbs: Gulf Coast
Region "I" — Gulf Coast
Optimum Planting Time:
October 1st - December 31st
USDA Hardiness Zone:
Your area, with its mild winter climate and hot humid summers, is perfect for most summer-blooming bulbs - and fine for a surprising number of spring bloomers as well if carefully chosen.
Most daffodils and other narcissi will thrive in your area even without pre-cooling, but tulips will require more effort! Most hardy spring-flowering bulbs must be treated as annuals in your area as there is not normally a long enough cold period to trigger the bloom cycle. To pre-cool tulips, hyacinths, and crocuses, store at 35-45° F (in a refrigerator crisper drawer, for instance) for a minimum of 8+ weeks and up to 14+ weeks. It's important to avoid storing bulbs near ripening fruit, as it gives off ethylene gas, which can damage the flower inside the bulb. Once removed from cool storage, plant bulbs immediately.
Special Note: Your best bets are bulbs that originate from warmer climates and do not require much if any cooling. Top performers are listed below. Other local favorites for fall planting include freesias, Anemone coronaria, and rununculus. Among the tulips that do require cooling, the Darwin Hybrids are reported as among the best performers.
A Sampling of Flower Bulbs for Perennializing (Return for Several Years):
- Most Narcissus (Daffodils): Dutchmaster, Ice Follies, Tahiti, and Double Poet's
- All Darwin Hybrid Tulips: Grand Mix, Pink Impression, Red Oxford, and Golden Oxford
- All Emperor Tulips: Red and White