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What you need to know about storing bulbs

From tulips and elephant ears to hyacinths and freesias, planting bulbs are a perfect means of injecting some much needed colour into your garden. However, while some hardy bulbs can remain in the ground after they have finished flowering, other tender types of bulb need to be carefully dug up and stored away from harsh weather conditions until they are ready to be planted again.

As we prepare for cold weather, it is important to make sure that any tender bulbs have been dug and stored away properly so that you can carry them through from one season to the next. Some tender bulbs that may need storing include: Acidanthera, Amaryllis, Caladium, Calla Lily, Canna Lily, Dahlia, Elephant Ear, Gladiolus, Taro, Tuberous Begonia and Windflowers.

To remove the bulbs, you will need to gently dig your plants, loosening the soil around the plant, at least a few inches around the main stem. Then use a fork or a spade to slowly remove the plan from the ground without damaging it. Gently rinse the bulbs and then leave them in the outdoors (but not if it’s too cold) for 48 hours. Now, remove any diseased bulbs and cut off stems and foliage. You can now store your bulbs, but don’t forget to label them so you know what is what. Bulbs can be stored in baskets, specialized trays or simple leftover egg cartons.

First of all, your bulbs need to be kept dry and cool. If the conditions are too moist and hot, then you risk them sprouting before you plant them again. But what temperature should you store them at? Well, as a rule of thumb you should try and keep them as cold as possible without reaching freezing point. So, storing them in a garden shed for instance might not be the best idea. Equally, putting them inside your kitchen at home may be unsuitable too – due to the heat of your home. If you have somewhere in your house that is colder than other areas of your home, such as a basement or a garage, then this may be the best spot for them.

When ordering bulbs to be delivered to your home, you should try and prepare in advance. While there is no harm in having them lie dormant in your home for a few days, you should store them in one of the areas mentioned above before a week has passed.

While most bulbs can generally be stored at around 7 degrees Celsius, there are some bulbs which require special attention. Lilies for instance must be stored below 7 degrees as they can easily sprout prematurely, and Calla Lilies and Elephant Ears prefer temperatures slightly warmer at temperatures around the 18 degrees Celsius mark.

For more advice on storing your bulbs please contact us. Boston Bulbs Wholesale is a privately-owned business with over 35 years’ experience of importing only the finest quality horticultural products throughout Europe and from farmers and growers all over the UK. Whether you’re a landscaper, nursery, local authority, wholesaler, retailer, private business or individual gardener, just give us a call on 01775 769 333 or visit for help with flower bulbs, grass seed and more. 

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