How to Store Flower Bulbs If You Can't Plant Them All


Depending on the region and bulb type, bulbs can be left in the ground between flowering, where they will divide and multiply. This can mean more, yet smaller flowers the next season. Bulb gardeners often choose to dig up their bulbs each year, to be later replanted. Many summer flowering bulbs are dug up when the leaves begin to yellow. If you've purchased too many bulbs to plant that season, or you've dug up bulbs to save for the next planting season, they need to be properly stored.

Ismene , Achimenes, Canna, Begonia, Caladium and Dahlia Bulbs

Step 1

Leave the soil on the bulbs, do not wash off or separate bulbs.

Step 2

Fill a box with a layer of moist peat moss or sawdust.

Step 3

Lay the bulbs in clumps on the peat moss or sawdust.

Step 4

Store in a cool location, between 60 to 65 degrees F. This may vary depending on bulb type. Wash the bulbs before you plant them.

Other Bulbs

Step 1

Wash the dirt and soil from the bulbs. Do not separate bulbs. If the bulbs haven't yet been planted in your garden, but you aren't ready to plant, skip step 1 and 2 in this section.

Step 2

Spread the bulbs in a shaded location to dry.

Step 3

Place dry bulbs in a tray with a screen bottom. Do not stack bulbs more than two or three layers deep. If you only have a few bulbs, place them in a paper sack.

Step 4

Store the tray in a cool, dry location away from the sun, between 60 to 65 degrees F. This may vary depending on bulb type. If you're using a paper sack, hang the sack by a string from the ceiling, so air can circulate around the bulbs.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not store bulbs in an area where fruit is stored; many types of fruit produce ethylene gas which can damage bulbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Box
  • Peat moss or sawdust
  • Tray with screen or paper sack with a string


  • "Bulbs"; James Crockett; 1971
  • Arizona Cooperative Extension: Flower Beds:Annuals
  • University of Illinois: Bulbs and More
Keywords: storing bulbs, bulb storage, flower bulbs

About this Author

Ann Johnson was the editor of a community magazine in Southern California for more than 10 years and was an active real estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelors of Art degree in communications from California State University of Fullerton. Today she is a freelance writer and photographer, and part owner of an Arizona real estate company.