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  3. How to Properly Store Flower Bulbs and Tubers for Winter

How to Properly Store Flower Bulbs and Tubers for Winter

Whether you’re dealing with tender summer-blooming bulbs or hardy spring bulbs that missed their planting window, knowing how to store bulbs over winter is crucial to ensure they thrive when planting them. This guide will walk you through the steps to safely store your flower bulbs and tubers for the winter months.

1: Cleaning

The first step in storing bulbs and tubers for winter is proper cleaning. If you’ve just dug up bulbs, gently remove excess dirt by brushing them off. Avoid washing the bulbs, as excess moisture can lead to rot during storage.

2: Packing

To store your bulbs effectively, choosing the right materials is essential. Remove the bulbs from any plastic bags or containers. Remember that bulbs must “breathe” during storage, so opt for a cardboard box. When preparing bulbs for winter, arrange them in the box with layers of newspaper in between. Ensure the bulbs do not touch each other within each layer.

3: Location

Selecting the right storage location is crucial for the success of your bulbs. Ideally, choose a cool and dry place, such as a closet, for storing bulbs over the winter. If you’re dealing with spring-blooming bulbs and don’t have access to a suitable indoor space, consider using the garage.

4: Special Directions for Spring Blooms

There’s an extra step for spring-blooming bulbs to ensure a beautiful display when the time comes. You can refrigerate these bulbs if you’re not storing them in the garage. Spring-blooming varieties typically require six to eight weeks of cold to bloom successfully. Store them in the fridge, making sure not to place fruits like apples or pears alongside them, as these emit ethylene gas, which can harm the bulbs. Plant them as soon as the ground thaws in the spring to enjoy their vibrant blooms.

How Long Can You Store Bulbs?

Tender bulbs, such as summer-flowering ones, should be stored before the first winter frost and planted in the spring. They usually spend about four months in storage. Remember that most bulbs have a limited shelf life, typically not exceeding 12 months. If you forget to plant tender bulbs in the spring, it’s generally better to plant them late rather than storing them for an entire year until the following spring.


In conclusion, properly storing flower bulbs and tubers over winter is crucial for their health and future blooms. By following these steps, you can ensure that your bulbs remain in excellent condition and delight you with their blossoms when the planting season arrives.

Updated on November 10, 2023

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