The Q&A Archives: Storing bulbs for the winter.

Question: I have dahlia, canna, elephant ear and calla lily bulbs. When I stored the dahlia and elephant ear bulbs in saw dust the dahlia bulbs shriveled and many of the larger elephant ear bulbs rotted. I store the bulbs in sawdust in a Michigan basement where there is no light.

Answer: The sawdust may be drawing out all the moisture. Instead of sawdust, try this: Pack in a cardboard box lined with a perforated plastic bag filled with dry peat moss, vermiculite, or wood shavings. Make sure bulbs do not touch, so that if one develops rot it won't spread easily. The temperature should be comfortably cool, around 50-60 degrees. Punch enough holes in the plastic so that moisture can escape, but not so many that the roots will dry up. Check on them every month or so. If they appear to be shriveling, mist them with plain water to help keep them hydrated.

Hope this helps!

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