How to Store Fall Bulbs

Overview

Bulbs provide dependable color to the garden. These plants grow from a bulb storage structure that already holds everything the flower requires to grow and bloom, so even first-time gardeners can expect success. Fall bulbs provide blooms in late summer and fall when many other plants have already finished flowering. Fall bulbs include some crocuses, lilies and cyclamen. Some fall bulbs are tender and must be stored over winter to protect them from frost. You may also need to store the bulbs for some time if you can't plant them immediately.

Step 1

Dig up existing bulbs from the bed once the foliage begins to yellow and die back on its own---usually after the first light frost in fall. Loosen the soil around the bulbs with your trowel then slide the trowel under the bulbs and lift them from the soil. Cut off the the remaining foliage with a pair of shears.

Step 2

Rinse the excess soil off the bulbs with a garden hose, except for corms such as gladiolus and crocus. Brush off as much soil as possible from corms, but do not wet them.

Step 3

Spread the fall bulbs out on a sheet of newspaper in a warm, well-ventilated area that receives direct sunlight. Leave the bulbs to dry for three to seven days.

Step 4

Fill a paper bag with a fungicidal dust, available from plant nurseries. Place the bulbs in the dust and coat all sides evenly so they are protected during storage.

Step 5

Fill paper bags with dry peat moss. Bury the bulbs in the peat moss and place the bags in a cool, dry location until you are ready to replant.

Tips and Warnings

  • Inspect the bulbs at least once a month during storage. Dispose of bulbs that begin to rot, otherwise the rot may spread to healthy bulbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Trowel
  • Shears
  • Hose
  • Newspaper
  • Paper bags
  • Fungicidal dust
  • Peat moss

References

  • University of Minnesota: Storing Tender Bulbs and Bulb-like Structures
  • North Carolina Extension: Storage of Bulbs Prior to Planting
Keywords: storing fall bulbs, bulb storage procedure, curing flower bulbs

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.