Not all bulbs need to be removed and stored over winter. Daffodils and tulips remain in the ground, but “tender bulbs” such as gladiolas, cannas and dahlias, must be “lifted” each fall.
Begin by carefully digging up the bulbs. If you skin or scratch a bulb it can open it up to the potential for disease. We recommend using a simple hand shovel or garden spade when digging because they grant more control when moving around the delicate bulbs. It is also a good idea to start digging much farther out than where you believe the bulb is actually located.
Once the bulbs are out of the ground, brush off any excess soil and let the bulbs sit in a dry area for about a week. This will help the bulbs dry out thoroughly before storing.
Once dried, layer the bulbs with dry peat moss, newspaper, or shredded paper in a paper bag, cardboard box or nylon stockings making sure the bulbs don’t touch each other. By separating the bulbs you give them enough space for air movement to prevent the development of rot. This will also help to prevent the rapid spread of any possible diseases between the bulbs. Store the bulbs in a dark, dry place which stays at about 60-65°F, such as a basement or cellar. When spring comes, they’ll be ready to replant!
Make sure to watch our video on how to plant bulbs in the spring or summer. For the latest seasonal tips and DIY know-how, sign up for our e-newsletter, The Monthly Dirt, and follow our social channels.