The Q&A Archives: Winter Storage Of Lily Bulbs

Question: This fall I purchased many varieties of Lily bulbs. Before they were planted, I discovered that we would be moving during this winter. What is the best way to store my new bulbs until they can be planted in the spring?

Answer: The bulbs are living things and are somewhat difficult to store out of the ground without the controlled conditions available to commercial growers and shippers. If at all possible, I would suggest planting them somewhere (perhaps at a neighbor's or friend's house) and then transplanting them next spring. If that is truly impossible, you could plant them in pots and sink the pots in the ground, then top them with wire mesh to deter rodents and then cover that with a very thick layer of mulch so the ground doesn't freeze solid; when it's time to move, yank the pots and take them with you. If that's not feasible you might also try to protect the potted bulbs above ground in a coldframe or somehow otherwise insulate them so that the soil stays cool but does not freeze -- an unheated garage might even do. Then you could take the pots with you when you move.

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