Video:How to Dry and Store Tender Bulbswith Marie Iannotti
If tender flowering bulbs won't survive the winter in your area, they can easily be dug and stored indoors, then replanted again next spring. See how to dry and store bulbs before the frost.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Dry and Store Tender BulbsI'm Marie Iannotti, your guide to gardening at About.com. It's fall in the garden and we've had a frost, so it's time to think about digging our tender bulbs and tubers. Unlike spring blooming bulbs that like a winter chill, tender bulbs can't handle freezing soil, so we dig them and store them some place warmer.
Remove the BulbsDig around the base of the plant, lift it and get rid of all the excess soil. Don't worry about the skinny roots, because they're going to dry out anyway. You want are the think, fleshy bulb-like roots.
Dry the BulbsTake off as much soil as you can and then put them in a cool, dry place to finish drying out for about a week or so, before you store them.
After a week or two the bulbs will have dried out nicely. Remove all the excess soil and cut back the tops to a little over an inch or two. Now you're ready to store the bulbs away.
Store the Dried BulbsOne easy method that works well is to put a layer of peat, sand or a nice dry, sterile medium at the bottom of a box and then laying out the bulbs, single layer. Cover with another layer of peat. You can put another layer of bulbs right on top of it, and so on. It works well, but it's a little messy.
Tips for Storing BulbsI prefer to wrap my bulbs in newspaper. The newspaper keeps them dry, dark and it isn't messy. As I wrap them, I pack them all in a cardboard box.
Check for bad bulbs as your packing. Anything that shows signs of mold or that's getting soft should be tossed out.
Don't forget to label as you go. I've labeled my box of canna bulbs. If you have only one or two bulbs, you can even write right on the bulb with a water proof marker.
Maintain the Dried BulbsOnce they're wrapped, store the bulbs in a cool, dark place and check them once a month or so to make sure they're not rotting or drying out and shriveling. If they get dry, spray the newspaper lightly with water. That's enough moisture to plump them back out and not let them rot.
Once everything is packed, put the box a cool, dark spot for the winter. If you want to get a head start next spring, you can pot the bulbs up a couple of months before it's time to plant outside, or you can just wait until the ground has warmed up and pot them outside directly.
If you want to learn more about growing or storing tender bulbs, join us on the Web at About.com Home and Garden. And thanks for watching.
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