The Q&A Archives: Lifting Tulips

Question: I have tulips that have bloomed and are now just stalks. I would like to move them to a new area of my yard for next spring. I have read that I should lift them out and store them but don't really know the proceedure. Could you explain in detail what lifting is and what the plant should look like when I do it. (When exactly to dig them out, What do I do with the stalks, do I put them in a bag, etc...)

Thank you.

Answer: Lifted bulbs may be reset in a new bed immediately, or they may be stored for the fall planting.

The first or second week in June is a good time to remove tulip bulbs from the soil. Carefully lift the plants and shake them free of dirt, taking care not to snap off the stems/leaves. The new bulbs need the nourishment stored in the stem. Never expose tulip bulbs to direct rays of the sun.

In an empty spot in your garden, dig a trench and lay the bulbs in it covering them with about 6 inches of soil allowing the stems to remain exposed to the sun. After a week or two when the stems have turned yellow, remove them. Spread them out to dry on a flat surface in the shade. Set them in a warm, dry place. The attic or garage is excellent. They must be kept completely dry to prevent rotting.

In the autumn, plant them!

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