The Q&A Archives: bulb storage or moving bulbs in June

Question: My husband and I are moving a flower garden of plants and bulbs to another location. The plants we have no problems moving. How do we move the bulbs, they are spring time bulbs of lots of varieties that have already done their thing for the season, can we dig up and cut off the upper shoots and then replant them in a new location right away, also what if we don't have a home for these bulbs,how do we put them in some kind of storage for fall planting? Do we cut off the shoots? Do we place them in a box with some soil? Do we put them in a bag in the refrigerator with no soil? Do they need to be watered??? I am hoping you will say we can just dig them up cut off the shoots and replant them right away in another spot for next year. HELP!!!!

Answer: The bulbs need to grow and mature their foliage to renew their strength to grow and bloom next year. The longer you can wait before digging them or removing the foliage, the better. I would dig them with the shoots/foliage intact and replant immediately at the same depth as they grew before. Water well the day before you dig them so they are well hydrated and water well right after replanting to settle any air pockets. Try to prevent the roots from drying out while they are in transit. They may wilt and die back immediately, but hopefully they will survive.

Alternatively you could dig them up foliage intact and pack them loosely in paper bags, store in a relatively cool and dry place such as an airy garage (not the fridge) until planting time in the fall. Either way, leave the foliage on the bulbs until it dries up and turns brown.

The other option is to leave them where they are and replant new ones in the fall. This would allow you to select just the right thing for each planting location and orchestrate the spring bulb display for the new garden. Bulbs are not that expensive, especially if you purchase in bulk by mail order.

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