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Does A Sudden Cold Snap Harm My Spring Bulbs?

Category: Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

Mother nature can be quite unpredictable to say the least. Sometimes in early Spring after bulbs have emerged from the ground and are beginning to flower, a sudden cold snap will bring temperatures down below freezing for a few days.  I always wonder what will happen to those delicate plants when temperatures fall so unexpectedly.  More often than not, I’m amazed at the resiliency of these hardy plants.

Yellow Tulips
Yellow Tulips

The exact effect caused by a sudden cold snap depends on a number of different factors, including the type of plant, regional location, temperature and length of snap. Remember, cold snaps are defined as a short and sudden spell of cold weather; therefore, the temperatures should rise back to their normal levels within a couple of days.


Because they bloom early in the spring, tulips can handle short cold snaps with ease. As long as the temperatures go back within 48 hours, they won’t suffer any serious damage. A tulip’s shoots and buds are usually the most protected from the cold, as they have a natural barrier against the cold weather. On the other hand, tulips with open blossoms may experience a slight burn from the freezing temperatures, especially if it lasts for longer than 48 hours.

Blooming Daffodil
Blooming Daffodil


There are many varieties of daffodils, all of which blossom in spring. When a cold snap approaches, gardeners are oftentimes fearful of the effects it will have. Like tulips, however, daffodils are naturally protected against mild-to-moderate cold snaps. If you believe the freezing temperatures are going to last longer than expected, you can place some extra mulch around the base of your daffodils for an added layer of thermal protection. Once the temperatures begin to rise again, though, you’ll need to remove the mulch so the daffodils can easily breathe again.


Hyacinth is a plant that’s native to the eastern Mediterranean, Iran and Turkmenistan, but it’s since been successfully introduced into several other regions. This bulbous flowering plant blooms with bright purplish blue coloring that’s a welcomed addition to any garden. So, how well does hyacinth handle short spells of cold weather? Some gardeners will find they do quite well, while others may experience their plants going into shock. Hyacinth is considered a spring-blooming flower, but this doesn’t necessary mean they will withstand freezing temperatures. The best thing you can do in the event of sudden cold snaps is to protect hyacinth with extra mulch for additional warmth.

5 thoughts on “Does A Sudden Cold Snap Harm My Spring Bulbs?

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  2. Jenni Thomas says:

    My daffodils bulbs were left outside last week on the one freezing night They were not planted but in the plastic bags I had bought them in Is it worth planting them now or are they ruined
    Thank you Jenni

  3. How should I protect and early bloomer ~ huacints have already bloomed in Augusta Ga! Help?!

  4. Lorena in Augusta Ga says:

    My pink yard hyancints , have bloomed , here in Jan! Jonquils also . Didn’t realize , Will be 26 in the morning ; should I go out and cover them tonight ? Will they bloom again in late spring ? Thanks !

  5. Gale Teschendorf says:

    Jenni Thomas, plant them. as a bulb, they can survive below-zero temperatures. It is only after they sprout that you have to worry and then a little below freezing may not kill the bulb.

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