When is the Best Time to Dig Up Flower Bulbs?

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There are flowering bulbs for every warm season, from early spring to late fall. What you do after the bloom depends on the type of bulb, the region you live in and your plans for the garden. Bulbs like daffodils can be left in the ground year around, while tulip bulbs in freeze in very wet zones must be dug up and stored or they will rot in the ground. Or maybe you are the gardener that is never satisfied with your flower placements and simply wish to move the bulbs to a new location.

The Number One Indicator

  • After a bulb has flowered, and the foliage has browned and died back, is the best time to dig the bulb up, whether for relocation or storage.

Significance

  • By allowing the bulb foliage to naturally die, the bulb itself has acquired the needed nutrients for the bloom next year. If you wait until new growth appears, the bulb has already started to use the stored nutrients and may not flower the following season.

Replanting

  • Sometimes you may wish to rearrange your garden and move the bulbs to a new location. Ideally, this should be done after the foliage has died back, but can be done in the spring when the first new growth appears. For best results, retain the soil that is around the roots and replant the bulb with that soil attached.

Storing

  • If you plan to store the bulbs until the next planting season, shake off the soil and allow the bulbs to dry for a day or two. Bulbs can be placed in brown paper bags and stored in a cool, dry place.

Tip

  • Labeling the brown paper bags makes it easier to identify the bulbs in the spring.

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