The Q&A Archives: Dry Bulbs

Question: My local Walmart had a teriffic sale on bulbs and tubers...some as low as 3 cents! I can't plant for at least 5 days and they are already looking poor; yellow leaves and dried looking roots. Is there anything I can do to give them a little more 'pep' before planting? The soil in the packages is very dry.

Answer: Bulbs are generally kept fairly dry during shipping/sale because too much moisture would encourage rot. Obviously they can't go without moisture forever, so at the end of their "peak," stores will often reduce the price. Your 3 cents was a great bargain! I don't think there's much you can do in these few days that will make a difference. Just get them in the ground as soon as you can! I suggest mixing an organic phosphorous source into the planting hole, such as bone meal or rock phosphate, or a fertilizer higher in phosphorous (the second number on the package should be higher, e.g., 5-10-5), to encourage bloom. If for some reason you can't plant within the next few days, you might store them in some moistened peat moss for a short period to help prevent further drying. Good luck!

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