Tulip bulb blast
Have you tried to force tulip bulbs in the refrigerator and been disappointed when the flower buds shrivel up? Ethylene may be the culprit. It’s colorless, odorless gas emitted by all plants. Ethylene is responsible for fruit ripening, flowers expiring and many other plant growth processes. If you store fruit in the same refrigerator, the level of ethylene may be elevated. In this case, ethylene has caused the buds to blast or shrivel up before they open. Once the bulbs have been damaged, throw them away.
If it is possible to force bulbs in a refrigerator where you don’t keep fruit, you won’t have this problem. Since that isn’t always possible or practical, here are some tips to prevent ethylene from damaging bulbs in the future. Put the pot of bulbs in a plastic bag before putting them in the refrigerator. Check them occasionally to make sure they don’t mold. If you find mold on the soil surface, leave the bag open and let the soil dry out a bit.
You can also try another chilling area. A cold frame or unheated garage, away from fruits and vegetables will do the trick. Or if you have covered, outdoor stairs to a basement or cellar try setting potted bulbs on a step 3 or 4 feet below ground level.