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Flower Bulb Storage

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How Long Do Flower Bulbs Last?

Planted outdoors, bulbs may last one season or become established and continue indefinitely. Unplanted, bulbs last less than a year. Hardy varieties may be planted late and still survive.

Planted outdoors, bulbs may last one season or become established and continue indefinitely. Unplanted, bulbs last less than a year. Hardy varieties may be planted late and still survive.

How Long Do Flower Bulbs Keep?

Flower bulbs can be stored over the winter and planted in spring. Some may survive if stored for longer periods, but blooming will be inhibited.

  • Planted outdoors, bulbs may last one season or become established and continue indefinitely.

Planting Flower Bulbs in Layers

Identifying Flower Bulbs

How to Cut Back Flower Bulbs

Use pruning shears or scissors to promptly remove faded flowers. Cut the flower stems as close to the ground as you can.

Wait to remove foliage until it has turned brown.

Use a lawnmower to mow down foliage in naturalized settings (like daffodils scattered throughout a lawn). Set the lawnmower to 2 inches high.

Use pruning shears or scissors to cut back faded foliage in flower beds. Cut the foliage back to 1 to 2 inches high.

  • Use pruning shears or scissors to promptly remove faded flowers.
  • Use a lawnmower to mow down foliage in naturalized settings (like daffodils scattered throughout a lawn).

Tip

Plant bulbs behind larger perennial plants to disguise fading foliage.

Don't worry about removing the foliage of bulbs with really fine foliage like squills and crocus. The foliage will die back and disappear on its own.

Cut back foliage before you try to lift a bulb for storage.

Remove faded flowers to prevent the bulb from setting seeds. Seed production takes a lot of energy that should be focused on forming larger bulbs and bulb offsets.

Warning

Do not braid, rubber band or force flower bulb foliage to lay flat. Doing any of these restricts the leaves' ability to accomplish photosynthesis.

Do not cut flower bulb foliage off at soil level. Doing this may damage the bulb.

How Long Can I Store Flower Bulbs?

Humidity

Flower bulbs must be stored in a cool, dry area. The moisture in some parts of the house can cause mold to grow in the bulb. This can kill the bulb in a matter of weeks.

Heat

Warm air kills flower bulbs quickly. The hot air causes the bulb to dry out. Once the bulb is completely dry, it will not bloom. The fresh bulb must be plump and fleshy.

  • Flower bulbs must be stored in a cool, dry area.
  • The moisture in some parts of the house can cause mold to grow in the bulb.

Time Frame

Most flower bulbs can be stored safely in a cool, dry place for up to 12 months. It is advisable to plant the bulbs as soon as possible for the next season's growth.

Warning

Storing flower bulbs in the root cellar with fruit which is ripening can cause the bulb to die. The fruit gives off gases which can be fatal to flower bulbs.

Considerations

Consider forcing the bulbs to bloom indoors if storing for 4 to 6 months is not possible. This keeps the bulbs active and allows them to continue to grow. Remember the bulbs produce energy for the next growing season by absorbing light through the leaves, after the bloom is gone. As tempting as it may be, do not cut back the leaves until they are brown.

  • Most flower bulbs can be stored safely in a cool, dry place for up to 12 months.
  • Remember the bulbs produce energy for the next growing season by absorbing light through the leaves, after the bloom is gone.
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