Storing flower bulbs

Not all flower bulbs can be left undisturbed in the soil. Tulips, for example, are susceptible to diseases, and gladioli cannot tolerate frost. If you still want to enjoy flowers produced from the same bulbs next year, you will have to store these flower bulbs.

What should be done before storing the flower bulbs?

If you want to store your flower bulbs, it is important to trim off any wilted flowers as soon as they are finished flowering. By trimming off the flowers, you keep the plant from using its energy to produce seedpods; instead, this energy goes into making the bulb itself stronger. By also proving some extra fertiliser, you will get extra strong bulbs.

Lifting flower bulbs

The flower bulbs can be taken out of the ground once the leaves and stem have completely died back. This is also referred to as lifting the flower bulbs. After lifting, it is advisable to brush off most of the soil clinging to them. Flower bulbs have to be kept dry during storage or they will quickly rot. For this reason, do not wash the flower bulbs before storing them.

Bulblets

Flower bulbs propagate by producing small bulbs from underneath. These are known as bulblets. When the flower bulbs are lifted, these bulblets can easily be removed along with the original bulb’s old tunic and roots. This is referred to as pealing the flower bulbs. Like the mature bulbs, bulblets can also be stored and planted out for next year’s growing season. A few years later, they will produce beautiful flowers.

What is the best container for storing flower bulbs?

The best container for storing lifted bulbs and bulblets is a cardboard box. Place the bulbs layer by layer in the box with a sheet of newspaper between each layer. When all the flower bulbs are in the boxes, store them in a cool dry place such as a cellar or wardrobe. As you can see, storing flower bulbs is not that difficult.