When do you know it’s time to store your bulb?

Bulbs are different than other annuals because they need to be taken out of the ground and stored indoors for the winter. After the flowers and leaves have wilted on your bulb, it’s time to bring it indoors for the winter. Trim off the access dead foliage above the soil line and you’re ready to dig out the bulb.

How to properly dig out a bulb from the ground?

Gardeners need to take special care when digging bulbs out of the ground. Any nicks or damage caused to the bulb make it susceptible to pests, bacteria and fungus. It’s best to dig a hole around the bulb and gently ease the bulb out of the ground with your fingers. Using a garden spade might damage to the bulb, so it should be used sparingly.

What’s the best way to store garden bulbs? 

Whether you wipe dirt off the bulb before storage depends on the kind of plant. Bulbs that need to be stored with soil still attached such as dahlias, caladiums, cannas and several others. It’s important to not wash bulbs of any kind. The extra moisture might cause the bulb to rot. Similarly, if any of the bulbs you uproot show signs of rot, they should be discarded.

Bulbs need to be dried before being stored, this is a process called curing. It’s best to place them on a tray and outside to dry. This can take as long as a few days to a few weeks. This is essential because the bulbs should not be damp or show any signs of moisture before they are stored.

Bulbs should be placed in a breathable container. Containers that are accept include paper bags, trays, cardboard boxes or mesh sacks. Plastic containers are not recommended and often cause your bulbs to mold. The lid should also be left off to allow for proper air flow and that excess moisture can escape for the next several months. Many gardeners also add sawdust, newspaper or peat moss to the containers to keep the plants healthy.

These containers should be stored in an area that’s high in air circulation. Ideal areas to store your garden bulbs during the winter is in a garage or inside near an open window. These areas should be dark and dry. An ideal temperature for these spaces is 50 to 60 degrees, which will keep the bulbs dormant during the winter.

Check on your bulbs occasionally

If numerous bulbs are stored together, they can quickly decay if nearby bulbs are damaged or rotting. It’s important to check on your bulbs regularly to make sure that decaying bulbs are thrown away before they contaminate the entire bulb storage container.

Storing bulbs doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Follow these steps to enjoy the same beautiful blooms year after year.