There are two main types of flowering bulbs. Spring bulbs are winter hardy and bloom in early spring. Summer bulbs bloom in summer and often cannot tolerate winter frost. Summer and occasionally spring bulbs must be dug and stored. Drying, or curing, the bulbs properly prior to storage ensures they do not rot and are less prone to disease over the storage period. This is particularly important for summer bulbs that are stored yearly and for a longer period of time than spring bulbs.
Dig up the bulbs from the garden. Dig spring bulbs six weeks after blooming if you are dividing or transplanting them. Dig summer bulbs in fall after the foliage begins to die back.
Cut the stems down to 3 inches high with sharp shears. Rinse off any excess soil stuck to the bulbs but do not soak them in water.
Spread the bulbs out on a sheet of newspaper to dry. Place them in a warm, dry room out of direct light for two weeks.
Pull off the remaining stems once dried. Brush off any remaining roots attached to the bottom of the bulbs.
Fill a tray or shoe box with dry peat moss. Set the bulbs inside, making sure they are not touching each other. Store between 60 and 68 degrees F, making sure they are not exposed to any moisture or humidity.
Alternately, store bulbs on large trays with screen bottoms. This allows air circulation around the bulbs to ensure they remain dry.
Things You Will Need
- Shoe box
- Peat moss
- Screened tray
- You can also store dry bulbs in paper bags suspended from the ceiling.
- Replant spring bulbs in fall, six to eight weeks before the first expected frost. Replant summer bulbs in spring after all danger of frost has passed.
- Check bulbs regularly for soft spots or damage during storage. Dispose of any that are affected so it doesn't spread to the healthy bulbs.