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Understanding how to store tulip bulbs after digging them up may feel tricky, but we have made it simple for you. We have researched the information you need to know to ensure that your tulips will bloom their best this coming spring.
When Storing tulip bulbs:
- Dig your bulbs in the summer after the plants have wilted and turned brown.
- Cut away any parts of the plant as close as you can to the bulb without damaging it.
- Clean and dry the bulbs.
- Check for diseased or rotten bulbs.
- Wrap in newspaper and store in a paper bag.
- Store in a cool, dry, dark place, like a basement or garage.
Now that you have a basic overview, let's get into some more detail to ensure your tulip bulbs are stored correctly so that they last, and make it back to the ground.
Choosing to Store Your Tulip Bulbs
There are a lot of varying ideas about how to best store tulip bulbs. Many experts say it is not necessary to dig up your bulbs, and that the only reason to store them is that you have bought them early and need to wait to plant them in the autumn.
However, if you decide to leave them in the ground then you need to make sure it is not an area of your garden that you will be watering a lot during the summer months as the bulbs will rot. Also, while the bulbs do not need to be taken up annually, you should dig them up every three years or so, to divide them and rotate them.
How to Store Tulip Bulbs After Digging
Storing your bulbs properly is key to ensuring their viability. It is a relatively simple process, though, if you follow the steps properly.
When to Dig Your Tulip Bulbs
The best time to dig your bulbs is in the summer after the flowers have faded away, and the plants turn brown and die back. This is the indication that they are finished for the season.
How to Trim the Bulb
Once you have dug up your bulbs, you will want to trim back the remnant of the plant. THis should be fairly easy, but you can also use a pair of gardening shears to cut it back as close as you can to the bulb, without cutting the bulb itself.
Clean and Dry the Bulbs
After you have them trimmed up, you need to wipe the dirt from the bulbs and place them in a cool, shaded place to dry for a couple of days. Make sure that they are quite dry before moving on to the next step.
Sort out the Bad Bulbs
As the bulbs dry, this is a good time to identify any bulbs that look rotten or diseased and dispose of them. One bad bulb can ruin a whole bundle to don't forget this step!
How to Package Your Tulip Bulbs for Storage
Once they are clean and dry, you will need to wrap each bulb in newspaper and place it in a paper bag. You can also use a mesh bag, but the paper is great because it blocks any errant sunlight from getting to your bulbs.
Store in a Dark, Dry Place
Where you store them is just as important as how you store them. Moisture can cause your bulbs to rot, and sunlight can initiate sprouting, so it is important that they are kept somewhere away from these elements.
They also need a period of cool in order to bloom, so their storage location should be somewhere that stays cooler, like a garage or basement, where the temperature gets to between 40 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit, but not freeze. This mimics the climate in their natural habitat.
If you live in a climate where it does not get cool, you can also store your bulbs in a drawer in your refrigerator away from the other produce.
How Long Can You Store Tulip Bulbs For?
You can store your tulip bulbs for up to 12 weeks as long as your storage methods are good.
Do Tulip Bulbs Need to be Refrigerated?
While you should keep your bulbs stored in a cool place, they don't necessarily need to be in the fridge.
Can You Leave Tulip Bulbs in Pots or Underground?
It is ok to keep the tulips bulbs in pots during their dormant months as long as you keep them dry and in a place where they will not freeze. It is best to raise the pot from the ground in order to avoid collecting moisture in the pot. If you plan to plant summer plants in the same pots as the bulbs then it is best to remove the bulbs as they will receive too much moisture, and they need the dryness during their dormant months.
If you live in a cooler climate, you can leave your tulip bulbs in the ground if they are buried deeply enough in the soil to prevent freezing. You might consider mulching with straw to help insulate them against a freeze if you do choose to leave them.
If you live in a warmer climate, where the temperature is not consistently below 45, then you will want to dig your bulbs and place them in cold storage for the winter as tulip bulbs require a period of cold in order to bloom.
Should you Freeze Tulip Bulbs?
No, tulip bulbs should not be allowed to freeze as this will kill them.
The Key is Good Storage
No matter whether you decide to leave your tulip bulbs in the ground or dig them up, hopefully, you have learned how important it is to keep them dry and cool during their dormant months. With the tips gained here, you are sure to have great-looking tulips come this spring!