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Digging and Storing Tender Bulbs

When should I dig up my tender bulbs and how should I store them?

Cannas, dahlias, calla lilies, gladiolus and tuberous rooted begonias can be dug as the leaves yellow or are killed by frost in areas where they are not winter hardy.  Cure in a warm, 70 degrees, well-ventilated location prior to cleaning and storage.  Gently remove, don’t scrub, the loose soil and prune off dead foliage.   Each plant has a slightly different curing and storage requirement.  All of them need cool storage temperatures of 45 to 55 degrees. Store only healthy pest free non hardy rhizomes, tubers, tuberous roots, and corms. 

Cure cannas overnight and store in peat moss at 45 to 50 degrees. 

Store tuberous begonias, caladiums, and callas packed in peat moss in a slightly warmer location, 50 degrees, after curing for several days. 

Dry gladiolus corms for several weeks in a 70 to 80 degree well ventilated location.  Store glad corms uncovered in a cool location.  

Cure dahlias for several hours before storing in a 45 degree location packed in peat moss, sand or vermiculite. 

Always label these and other bulbs placed in storage to take the guesswork out of next spring’s planting. 

Check stored bulbs throughout the winter discarding any that begin to rot.  If the bulbs begin to sprout you need to find a cool location.  If growth continues you may be starting these bulbs indoors sooner than planned.


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