Learning the Art of Gardening

Spring Bulbs – Storing for fall planting

Spring Bulbs – Storing for fall planting

Spring bulbs are great, you plant them in the fall and wait for the colorful show.  They will naturally multiply over time, called naturalizing.  Digging, sorting, cleaning up and storing spring bulbs to plant in the fall is sometimes necessary when you buy new bulbs or what you have plante stops flowering.

Daffodils in bloom
Tulips in bloom


Last year Jimmy planted a row of tulips, daffodils and hyacinth.  They are so pretty when they are in bloom.





Spring Bulbs for Sale

Did you ever wonder what happens to the spring flowers that don’t sell at garden centers?  Do they give them back to the growers?  Trash them?  Plant them?  Browsing through the garden center at a local Wal-Mart earlier in spring, we found a bunch of discounted spring plants no one bought, ones that have already bloomed.  They were 25¢ per container, we filled up several flats for a total of $9…score!!  You can bet I’ll be going through every local garden center I can think of next year for more deals like that!


Spring Bulb Clean Up

The bulbs were still a little wet when I took them out of their containers.  I brushed off what dirt I could and I left all the foliage in tack.  The leaves feed the bulb so it has energy to flower in the spring.  After the flowers bloom and the stems are cut back, the foliage can look unkempt.  Things like ground covers, ornamental grasses, summer and fall bulbs can hide the left overs from spring.  If the flower isn’t cut when it’s finished blooming it will start to seed and the seeding process will take energy from the bulb.


Separated bulbs
Bulbs in vermiculite
Tulip bulbs in vermiculite

After I cleaned them off I put a sheet of newspaper down on a large framed screen that came off an old door, perfect for drying bulbs.  Placing the bulbs on the newspaper in rows, careful not to have any of them touching another so they don’t grow any mold.  Then I placed another sheet of newspaper on top to shelter them from any light and put them in our basement.  A nice cool, dark and dry place for them to “hang out”.  When they are dry, I’ll cut the leaves and roots off of them and put them in a flat with some vermiculite until I can plant them in the fall.


Baby Spring Bulbs

Daffodil bulb with bulblets
Tulip bulb with bulblets

Not all the bulbs but some of them have what’s called bulblets, little new bulbs that are growing off of the main bulb.  The bulblets should be left intact with the main bulb while they are being stored.  The bigger bulblets should be separated as you are planting them.  The picture of the daffodil bulbs to the left has several bulblets that I’ll separate when I plant them.  The bulblets on the tulip bulb are too small to separate, I’ll wait for those to grow where they are for a while before I remove them.  Bulblets mean more flowers without buying more bulbs, fabulous!


There are a few clumps of daffodils that I need to dig up, I’d be willing to bet there are more than a few bulblets to be found there too.  The flowers sometimes need to be dug up and the bulbs separated because over time they can each other and produce less flowers.  I’m digging them up because they aren’t flowering anymore and I want to put them in a different place.  There are more clumps in the yard and a container full of spring bulbs that I’ll do the same process with.  I’m going to have tons of bulbs to plant this fall that will hopefully grow into some beautiful flowers next spring.

Thanks for reading!

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Hi! I'm Julie and I live in Harford County Maryland. I am currently a computer technician but I have a passion for photography and things that grow. One day I hope to have a small thriving plant nursery, where I can grow many things and take as many pictures of them as many ways as I like. They say if you do something you love you'll never work a day in your life, that's my goal.

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