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How to Store Tulip Bulbs Until Fall

red tulip field image by Maxim Kulemza from

Storing tulip bulbs through the summer until fall planting helps keep the bulbs in optimum health. Lifting the bulbs after the spring flowering and foliage die-back helps prevent rodents such as squirrels from consuming the dormant bulbs. It also helps prevent the bulbs from contracting rot or fungal infections. Many people also store newly purchased bulbs until fall planting. Storing bulbs often becomes a necessity if tulip bulbs are to be transplanted and divided in the fall.

Dig up the tulip bulbs gently using a hand trowel. Shake the dirt from the bulbs. Check them closely for rot or deformity. If the bulb is unhealthy, promptly discard it.

Place tulip bulbs into a basket or paper bag. Sprinkle peat moss, dry sand or vermiculite around the bulbs.

Store bulbs in a cool, dark place such as a cellar. Alternatively, place tulip bulbs in the vegetable crisper of a refrigerator for storage. Don't store apples or grapes in the refrigerator with the tulips because the fruits produce the gas ethylene, which will cause the bulbs to become distorted.

Store Tulip Bulbs For Fall Planting

Stop watering the tulips for one or two weeks after the leaves yellow to allow them to dry. Dig under the root mass with a garden trowel and pry the bulbs from the soil using a gentle rocking motion. Make sure the bulbs are completely covered in the soil. Tap the pot on a hard surface to loosen the soil. Don’t pull the tulip from the pot by its stem. Store the bulbs in a cool, dry, dark place, such as a garage, until 60 days before you want them to flower. Soak 2 gallons of sphagnum peat moss, or 1 to 2 cups for each tulip bulb, in water for two hours. Squeeze the excess water from the peat moss. Place the bulbs in the crisper 1 to 2 inches apart and cover them with the remaining peat moss.

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