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How to Store Tender Bulbs Over Winter

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In our cold climate some of our summer flowering bulbs need to be dug up from the ground and brought inside to an area that doesn’t freeze. Learn how to store tender bulbs over winter, and enjoy these flowers year after year, by following our advice below.

Tuberous begonias

Be sure to check on your bulbs when they are stored to ensure there is no rotting material.

Begonias need to be dug up when the foliage is starting to brown or after a light frost, the stems should be cut back close to the tuber. They should then be allowed to dry out inside until the stems are dry, these can then be pulled off and the excess soil brushed off of the tuber. These can then be placed in a box or a bag with some peat moss and stored at about 45°-55° F.

Gladiolus

These plants should be dug up in late September, as they need to be removed from the ground before a hard freeze. The stems can be cut back to about 1” above the corm, they then should be stored in a dry area for 2-3 weeks. As the corm dries the root cap becomes dry and can be removed. These can be stored in a mesh bag at 40°-50°F.

Canna

After frost has damaged these plants they can be cut back to 2-3”, then wash them gently with a hose to remove the excess soil. They should be allowed to dry in a shady area for 2-3 days then they can be stored for the winter at 40-50° F.

Dahlia

Dahlia plants shouldn’t be dug up until a hard frost has completely killed the foliage, the dead foliage can be cut off at ground level, then place them in a paper lined cardboard box with peat moss at 50° for the winter.

Calla

These bulbs should be treated like the tuberous begonias. They can be stored in peat moss for the winter.

Once a month you should check all of your stored plants to see if any are starting to rot. If there is any damaged material it should be thrown away. The callas and begonias can be started in pots in a sunny window in late February or early March. The other plants are generally placed outside once the temperatures warm up.