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Lifting and Storing Winter bulbs

Spring’s starting to wind down now leaving many gardeners with the question of “What next, can I keep bulbs for next year and if so do I need to lift them”. It’s well worth the little extra effort it takes to prepare your bulbs for the next season. From when the bulb finishes flowering until it goes dormant it stores up as many nutrients as possible. It needs as much sustenance as possible to take it through the dormant period. For this reason it is important to wait until all the bulbs’ foliage has died down naturally before lifting them. If you feed your bulbs a fortnightly dose of Hadeco bulb food, from when their flowers fade, you will help ensure fatter, healthier bulbs with top quality blooms in the next season. The next part of the answer depends on how well drained you soil is. If water is allowed to collect and lie around the bulbs they may rot away. If your bulbs are planted in a soil with poor drainage then it is better to lift them. You should lift your bulbs every few years, once they become overcrowded. When the bulbs have to vie for space, nutrients and moisture their performance may start to take a knock. After all their foliage has died down, lift your bulbs; brush off any loose soil, rinse under a tap and lay them in a shady corner to dry. Once dry they can be divided and placed in old stockings, orange bags, sawdust filled crates - basically in anything that allows air to circulate. Store in a cool, well-ventilated shed or cupboard, until next autumn.

Top Tips:

  • It is a good idea to label the various bags, just in case you forget which is which by the time the next planting season comes around.
  • Some bulbs like tulips and hyacinths rarely give good results in their second season. Our spring temperatures are just not cool enough.