The Q&A Archives: transplanting bulbs and pereinnials

Question: Hi

We are in the process of buying a new home and i would like to take some of the bulbs and a rose plant that i have in my current garden. Bulbs are daffodils, iris, and asiatic lilies... is it save for me to dig them up now ie end of Aug ?? if yes how do i store em till end of Sept - mid oct??? What abt the rose.. can i take a cutting and after apply rooting compound put it in a container and then transplant it in the new house??? or shud i leave it in the container thro the winter and transplant in spring ??? or how late (mid oct ok) can i plant the rose in the new home

thanks in advance

Answer: Moving garden plants is much more difficult when you are not able to dig and replant them the same day. The daffodils might still be dormant so you could dig them now, dry them, and store in a dark dry place and replant when you move to the new house. The Lilies however do not go dormant, so you might try to pot them up to prepare for the move, then keep them growing as container plants until you can replant them. The iris rhizomes could be dug and stored dry, or could be potted and grown as container plants untill they can be reset in the new garden. The risk here is that planting in October is very late and they may frost heave badly during the winter.

You may be able to root a tip cutting of the rose. I would suggest keeping it in the container in a cold frame over the winter, or in a sheltered but cold place such as an unheated garage. Here are directions on taking the cuttings. You may need to cut and paste the complete url into your browser to make it work correctly.

I have sadly moved away and left gardens several times so I should probably mention a couple of points.

If you have sold the current house, then the plants are included in that sale and can't be removed. Check with your agent to be sure.

Moving is a big upheaval, and taking plants is just one more layer of difficulty. Often, the plants end up not replanted promptly or the soil preparation is not thorough enough or they do not fit into the landscape at the new place so they don't perform very well as a result. In this case, you are planting very late in the season -- with perennials you generally want to try to plant at least ten weeks before the ground freezes.

These are plants that can be replaced if you know the variety names, or you can select varieties that are exactly what you need for the new garden so they fit in with any other landscaping. Unless you have strong sentimental reasons for moving them I would suggest you wait and purchase new plants next spring. That way you can do the soil preparation in the fall and will have time to plan all winter and will have less stress during your move, too.

Another option would be to plant them temporarily in a gardening friend's garden and move them next spring when you have more time.

Best of luck with your move!

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