Q: I know we don't get enough natural outside chill for hyacinths, tulips or Dutch crocuses, but I'd like to plant some anyway. What do I need to do?
Q: I know we don't get enough natural outside chill for hyacinths, tulips or Dutch crocuses, but I'd like to plant some anyway. What do I need to do?A: You are right that these need a cold period in order to bloom so put them in brown paper bags (not plastic) in a part of the refrigerator where they will be cold (but not frozen) for 6-8 weeks. Be aware that too much ethylene gas, which is given off by ripening apples (and bananas and pineapple), can cause the bulbs to rot or sprout prematurely, so keep these fruit in airtight bags. You can also sometimes buy prechilled bulbs and just plant them directly. Also, unlike the classic Dutch tulips, some natural species tulips do fine without a chill, and so do saffron crocus which bloom later (and you get to harvest the saffron!). You might also consider opting for some of the Tazetta narcissus varieties which tolerate our climate quite well--I have some paperwhites that have bloomed dependably for the last 20 years.