Bulbs in Wet Climates - Knowledgebase Question

Portland, OR
Question by chalupa0
January 2, 1998
I have just moved to Oregon. I have been warned about planting bulbs because of the rains in the winter. I have been told that most bulbs rot after a year or so. Is this true? Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening short of digging them all up every year?


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Answer from NGA
January 2, 1998

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I understand your concern about having to replace bulbs year after year. Generally speaking, bulbs will do okay when left in the ground year after year. That's how some gardeners achieve the naturalized effect of bulbs in meadows or stands of trees. If the soil you expect to plant your bulbs in is heavy clay or drains poorly, then rot might be a concern. If this is the case, plant your bulbs in plastic pots and sink the pots into the soil. At the end of the season remove the pots from the garden bed and put them in a dryer area.

I've had my share of disinegrating dahlia tubers, but have never lost a bulb to excess moisture. (I live in Western Washington where rainfall is plentiful year round) I'd say go ahead and plant your bulbs - just make sure the soil is well-drained.

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