How to Remove Flower Bulbs After They Have Bloomed So They Can Be Planted in the Fall


The profuse floral display of spring bulbs brings the first hint of the end of winter. Spring bulbs lie dormant in the soil throughout the cool months, conserving energy for a tremendous floral display. The bulb portion contains everything the plant needs to produce a floral display the following year. The key lies in the proper treatment of the flower bulb over the course of the dormant season. Learning how to remove flower bulbs after blooming involves an understanding of how bulb plants regenerate to produce flowering in successive years.

Step 1

Leave the remaining foliage and flower stems in the garden after bloom. Cut back flower heads directly behind the bloom. To encourage blooming the following year, leave the foliage alone after blooms finish for the season.

Step 2

Allow foliage to die off naturally to a brown or yellow color. Do not cut, mow or prune foliage in any way. The dying foliage feeds the bulb. Separating foliage from the bulb will cause bulbs to fail in the spring. Bulbs must have a way to rejuvenate after producing such stunning flowers.

Step 3

Dig a trench 4 to 6 inches outward from the center portion of the bulb plant. Adhere to the spacing to avoid striking an underground bulb. Dig deep enough to capture the entire bulb with a shovel.

Step 4

Lift the bulb free of the soil and gently shake off excess soil. Continue removing all remaining bulbs for the garden area.

Step 5

Pick up each bulb and remove all the soil attached to the bulb using a cloth or a gardening glove. Removal of the soil allows for easier storage and limits the possibility of dampness ruining the bulb.

Step 6

Place the bulbs on newspaper in a cool, dry location for four to six days. This drying time allows moisture to wick out of the bulb and discourages rotting.

Step 7

Place the bulbs inside a paper grocery bag for storage over the summer months. Label the outside of the bag with the date and type of bulb. Store the bag in a cool location such as a basement or garage that exhibits no humidity.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade shovel
  • Cloth
  • Gardening gloves
  • Newspaper
  • Paper grocery bag


  • Cornell University: The Culture of Spring Flowering Bulbs
  • University of Minnesota: Spring Flowering Bulbs
Keywords: removing spring bulbs, spring bulbs, digging spring bulbs

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.