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I've got a bunch of Daffodil bulbs for my mother who lives out on the tip of Long Island, New York (USDA zone 7). I'd like to give them to her for Christmas, and plant over the weekend (weather permitting).

Is mid-December too late already? Will it be too late 10 days from now at the end of December?

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I have done this successfully several times, but in a warmer zone (Lancaster, PA, zone 6b). I put the bulbs in a 33 degree F. refrigerator for about 2 weeks first, reasoning that it would prepare them for the cold (~15-20 deg. F. at the time). They all survived, each time.

Things to note:

  • If you use the fridge, make sure there is no fruit in it, or the ethylene gas may harm the bulbs.
  • Your area is colder, so I'd suggest trying it during the beggining of a warm spell, or under a heavy snow cover.
  • If the ground is frozen, thawing it indoors or replacing it with bagged mix is better than reusing frozen stuff.
  • 12 weeks at under 40 degrees F. brings the best blooms, so if you wait too long, the chilling might not be long enough for them all to develop buds.
  • They will grow roots whenever the ground isn't frozen. If you plant them sooner, you will get better established plants by spring. My daffs are already almost emerging already.
  • 10 days shouldn't make too much of a difference.

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