Tips from Olle Garden Bed: How to Store Bulbs for Winter

Because some of your favorite garden and indoor plants are planted with bulbs, you naturally want to store them in winter so that you can plant them again in the spring of the next year. However, storing bulbs can be tricky. Some bulbs are cold resistant and can withstand frost, but some bulbs are very tender and need extra care. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

There is a unique way to store winter bulbs so you can use them again next year. The following is a tutorial for beginners, explaining different types of bulbs, their hardness and storage methods, as well as some additional information to help you complete the whole process.

raised garden bed

What is a light bulb?

In essence, the bulb is a plant hidden in an onion shaped shell, which is its root. They bloom for a short time, absorb all the energy through the leaves, store it in the root, and then hide it back in the shell until the next year. There are two types of bulbs - cold resistant and tender.

Hardy bulb

Cold resistant bulbs such as tulip, iris, hyacinth and narcissus usually bloom in spring, which is one of the earliest flowers of the year. They can spend the winter well. Low temperature triggers biochemical process, making these cold resistant bulbs bloom again in spring. The cool temperature will decompose the starch and carbohydrate storage of the bulb, and convert them into glucose, which is the main energy required for the growth of roots and new buds.

Tender bulb

Young bulbs such as Dahlia, Elephant Ear and Tuber Begonia are very fragile. Without additional care and attention, they usually cannot survive the winter. However, because it is tedious to care for them, most gardeners avoid trouble and regard them as annuals.

You need to follow the contents of this tutorial

Before storing bulbs for winter, you need some basic tools. So get these things ready before you start.

Gardening Glove
Digging fork
Hand trowel
Toothpick (optional)
Old newspapers
Sharp scissors
A box filled with sand, sawdust, peat, or sawdust
Paper bag or mesh bag (optional)

How to store tender bulbs in winter

This is the right way to prepare and store tender bulbs for winter. Remember, light bulbs are fragile, so handle them carefully! In addition, please wear gardening gloves before learning this tutorial.

  1. Dig them out

Look for bulbs with withered leaves, or wait until the leaves of your favorite bulbs wither before digging them out. When you find the ideal bulbs, use the digging fork to loosen the ground around them, and use a hand trowel to gently and carefully dig them out. The idea is to protect the bulb from any damage.

Professional tips: Only choose large and healthy bulbs, because it can reduce the risk of fungal damage. Although medium bulbs can also be stored, small bulbs may shrink.

  1. Clean them

After digging them out, place them on a dry surface and gently remove the soil from the bulbs. If necessary, you can use a toothpick to scrape the dirt sticking to the outer layer of the bulb. Remember to be as gentle as possible; You do not want the toothpick to pierce the bulb or scrape off excess skin.

After that, gently remove the leaves from the top, but do not wash the tubers with water, as water can cause decay in winter. If you find any damaged or insect infested bulbs, please do not store them with healthy bulbs. Instead, add them to your compost pile or discard them.

  1. Drying

After removing the soil and top leaves, the bulbs are dried before storage. To do this, place several old newspapers on the floor of a dark, dry room with a temperature of 60 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay the bulbs on the newspaper and let them dry for two to three days. To determine if the bulb is dry enough for storage, trim the stem slightly with sharp scissors. If the inside is still wet, let them air dry for a few more days.

Professional tips: When checking the moisture in the stems, make sure to leave at least two inches of stems; Otherwise, the bulb will start to take root.

  1. Store them

When the bulb is dry, it can be stored. Fill your ideal storage box with sand, sawdust, peat or sawdust, and then place the dry balls in it. Do not cover the box with a lid, as it may accumulate moisture in winter.

Do not place bulbs close to each other in the box. This is to minimize the damage to other bulbs when one bulb starts to decay. After placing the bulb in the box, keep the box away from direct or indirect sunlight with a temperature of 35 – 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Professional tips: If you can't find a good box to store your bulbs, you can use paper bags or mesh bags to store them. This will promote proper air circulation and prevent decay.

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How to store cold resistant bulbs for winter

Storing hardy bulbs in winter is optional because they can withstand cold temperatures and survive underground. Once their leaves begin to turn brown and dry, trim them, but leave the bulbs deep underground. They will germinate on their own in the next season.

However, if you are worried that your bulbs will be damaged in winter or the planting area will be overcrowded, you can dig them out and store them like young bulbs.

Most popular bulbs and winter care

  1. Elephant ears

You can dig these bulbs out of the ground before frost strikes and store them like tender bulbs. Then, if you prefer to plant them indoors, dig them out of the ground and plant them in pots that can be placed indoors.

  1. Canna

Although most hardy bulbs can withstand freezing temperatures, the stems of marijuana will become mushy. To avoid this, take it out in advance and let the root dry for a few days. After drying, wrap them in old newspapers layered with peat moss, wood chips, sand or sawdust and store them at 45 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

  1. Dahlia

Like canna, dahlia cannot withstand the hard frost. To prevent damage, dig them out in advance, but be very gentle, because their roots are fragile and easy to bruise, which may lead to disease. Allow the bulb to dry for up to one day before storing. Then, check them every month, and if they are dehydrated, gently spray them.

raised garden beds

Winter is coming

Many of our favorite perennial plants grow from bulbs. However, not all bulbs are cold enough to withstand cold winter temperatures. This is why it is important to follow the above steps to store them. In this way, you can replant them next year.

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