When to Dig Bulbs - Knowledgebase Question

Guilderland, NY
Question by tamtap
August 6, 1998
I planted gladiolus for the first time this year, I was informed that they need to be dug up and stored in a cool place during winter...my question is when do I dig them up?

Also, I have many daffadils that were only in for two winters; they only flowered one spring, I dug them all up because they didn't bloom. The bulbs look very good, any advice on what I can do when I put them back in the ground that will help them to flower again?


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Answer from NGA
August 6, 1998

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You can wait until after frost to dig up the glads. The foliage needs to keep growing as long as possible to replenish the bulbs so they can bloom again next year.

Daffodils do best in a sunny spot with rich, well-drained soil (meaning not soggy). The key to getting good blooms from year to year is allowing the foliage to grow and slowly dry up naturally after the blooms are finished. This is similar to the glads -- the foliage is required in order for the bulb to rebuild its strength enough to produce blooms again.

Spring blooming bulbs such as daffodils should be planted in the early fall so that they have plenty of time to root and establish themselves before the ground freezes. Many gardeners add a bulb booster fertilizer at the time of planting and again in very early spring just as the tips are beginning to break through the soil.

Long-lived bulbs such as daffodils are not normally dug up and stored for the summer. Instead, they are usually left in place for a number of years and only divided when the clumps become too crowded to bloom well any more.

Good luck with your bulbs!

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