Two Questions On Bulbs - Knowledgebase Question

New York, NY
Question by obyrne1
March 14, 2000
I read conflicting answers in the library about bulbs that have been forced. Am I correct in clipping the flowers once the blooms are over, watering the plants, waiting for the foliage to die and then taking them out of the pots, putting them in a dark place and planting in the fall for next spring. Or is that a waste of time and effort? if not, what should the temperature of the storage area be?

A second related question. I live in the city and space in my outdoor garden is limited. I planted many tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and crocuses last fall. After they bloom, can I remove them and re-plant them for next year or does that damage the bulbs? Or should I try to plant my annuals above them and leave them in the ground? What is the method for either strategy and which is better for the bulbs and for future flowers?


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Answer from NGA
March 14, 2000

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year, you can transplant them with a high success rate if you are careful to take the entire root ball when you do it, meaning not just the bulb but also as many of the roots as possible. Make sure they are well watered the day before and water them in well when you've replanted them. Prepare the new spot before you dig them up and replant them immediately.

Basically, if you leave them in the ground to ripen and then remove them for summer storage, it will be rather late in the season to successfully plant annuals and perennials. You will also have spent weeks and weeks looking at the ugly fading foliage -- a stage which must occur if the bulbs are to rebuild their strength enough to bloom again.

Since you have only a small space, you might consider forcing the bulbs in pots to be set into decorative containers in the spring and then discarded. This would allow you to plant annuals and perennials in the ground unhampered by having allowed space for the bulbs. This sort of thing is always an issue for small space gardeners. You might eventually decide to grow one patch of your favorite bulb only and enjoy other people's displays of the rest!

year, you can transplant them with a high success rate if you are careful to take the entire root ball when you do it, meaning not just the bulb but also as many of the roots as possible. Make sure they are well watered the day before and water them in well when you've replanted them. Prepare the new spot before you dig them up and replant them immediately.

Basically, if you leave them in the ground to ripen and then remove them for summer storage, it will be rather late in the season to successfully plant annuals and perennials. You will also have spent weeks and weeks looking at the ugly fading foliage -- a stage which must occur if the bulbs are to rebuild their strength enough to bloom again.

Since you have only a small space, you might consider forcing the bulbs in pots to be set into decorative containers in the spring and then discarded. This would allow you to plant annuals and perennials in the ground unhampered by having allowed space for the bulbs. This sort of thing is always an issue for small space gardeners. You might eventually decide to grow one patch of your favorite bulb only and enjoy other people's displays of the rest!

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