Tips To Help You
Storing bulbs for the winter isn't that difficult. You may have many reasons for storing them.
Bulbs that are tender need to be lifted and stored if you want to use them next year. You may not have had time to get them into the ground. Whatever the reason you have for storage just follow these easy steps.
Digging or Lifting Bulbs
Be very careful when you dig up bulbs for storage. You want to try and advoid damaging the bulbs as you dig them up.
Dig a few inches from the base of the plants so that the roots and bulb are not cut.
Cuts and bruises can weaken the bulb allowing diseases to attack.
Shake or brush off most of the soil clinging to the bulb when you lift them.
To Clean Or Not To Clean
Tubers and rhizomes
can be sprayed with a water hose to remove some of the dirt.
Bulbs and corms can be damaged with water. The skin will peel away, so it's best to keep water away from them.
This photo shows an iris rhizome that has been dug up and cleaned off with water.
Dry Before Storing Bulbs
Allow the bulbs to dry before storing. Set them in an area out of direct sunlight or drying winds and don't forget to turn them every so often.
Most rhizomes and tubers will take 1-3 days to dry, corms and small bulbs may take up to three weeks.
Once the bulbs are dry you can brush off some more of the soil and do any
divisions that are necessary.
Discard any bulbs that are damaged, bruised or squishy feeling.
This picture on the left shows bulbs being divided, just gently pull the side bulbs away from the center one. They are not dry enough to store yet they'll need another day or two before I store them.
Dust with an insecticide-fungicide powder. You don't want any surprises to pop up. Its better to take care of this early on.
Place some of the fungicide into a plastic baggie, add some bulbs, close it up and shake to coat them. Use disposable gloves when handling the bulbs to take them out of the baggie.
Store like bulbs together and don't forget to label them.
Storage temperatures for most bulbs should range between 45F-60F.
Dahlias being a little pickier need a temperature below 45F to keep from sprouting.
You can use paper bags and carboard boxes to store your bulbs in. I don't recommend plastic containers or plastic bags for storage as they can retain too much moisture.
Place bulbs in a darkened area away from drafts.
Storing tulip bulbs and other thick skinned bulbs is easy since the skin helps the bulb retain some moisture so they won't totally dry out over the winter. Just tuck them away making sure the bulbs don't touch each other.
Fleshy tubers may dry out completely since they don't have a tough skin. To store tubers bury them in containers fill with peat, sand, vermiculite or perlite and add a few drops of water now and then. You don't want them bone-dry but you don't want to add enough water that they start growing either. Just a few tiny drops is enough.
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