How to Store Plant Bulbs for the Winter

Many of the bulbs we plant, such as Grape Hyacinth, Daffodil/Narcissus, Fall Crocus, Lily, Tulip, SnowDrop, Bearded Iris, are hardy and can survive cold winter temperatures. These don’t need to be removed from the garden unless you want to move them to a new location or they’ve become too crowded. When bulbs are too crowded, they produce fewer and smaller flowers each year.

Some bulbs originate in warm tropical areas and need to be dug up in the fall, these include, Gladiolas, Dahlias, Canna, and Begonias. Carefully dig up the bulbs once the leaves have died or have been killed by the first winter frost. Try not to damage the bulbs, even a slight nick in the fleshy part is enough to let in diseases that can cause bulbs to rot. Allow the bulbs to dry out on some paper for about a week in a cool shady spot (60-70 degrees) before putting them into storage for the winter.

Once dried, remove any remaining soil and leaves, and dust the bulbs with a fungicide/insecticide. Store the bulbs in a shady area at a temperature between 50-70 degrees, basements and garages work well. Never store bulbs near apples because apples release a gas that kills bulbs.

If cared for properly, bulbs will bloom for many years.