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Tulip bulbs storage

I’m new at gardening and facing the prospect of lifting about 300 tulip bulbs to storage. Already did some research but it’s still not clear to me if i should keep or take off the roots during the drying process. Can anybody help me, please?

Also, another (unrelated) newbie question: if i’m to lift the bulbs ony to split them (propagate) and plant them right back in, should i keep the roots of the main bulb or take it off?

Thank you!
Cheers from Scotland.


  • BiljeBilje Posts: 743
    When I lift mine which have been in pots I pull or snip off any remaining stem, shake off any remaining compost and just pile them in plant pots under the greenhouse staging. The old roots just dry up and drop off. I move them onto shelves in the garage at some point. I replant in November.
    Why do you want to lift them and immediately replant them in a border? The main bulb will possibly reflower but the small offsets won't bulk up and flower for a couple of years, there's not a lot of point in moving them . I just leave my border ones in place to do there own thing. Some form good clumps, others fade away.
    All bulbs send out new roots ever year.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,266
    If you take the roots off before replanting, the bulb can't grow. You would be removing them to the detriment of the bulb.
    If you're lifting them, you need to store the whole bulb, foliage as well, as @Bilje describes. The offsets from bulbs take a very long time to get to flowering size.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • ninac-zninac-z Posts: 18
    Bilje said:
    All bulbs send out new roots ever year.
    I’m thinking on ways to give them a better chance to bloom againg without having them storaged. So though about lifting, give them some love - take off brownish external layers, add some new quality improved compost and bulb starter around them and put them back where they were before. You’ve said they send out new roots - and the roots are a big element on rotten chance. So i though on taking them off. I know my “logic” here may be totally off. But they would hibernate just like they were in their first year, right?! 😬
  • BiljeBilje Posts: 743
    I follow your logic if you don't want to lift and store. Im not sure what I'd do if I was lifting and replanting, probably cut roots off. Please leave the brown jacket in place unless it falls off it helps protect the bulb. When you buy bulbs they are complete with jackets. 
    If you're concerned about rotting you could put horticultural grit in the bottom of the planting hole. 
    Good luck 
  • ninac-zninac-z Posts: 18
    Thanks @Bilje - thaks great help. 😉💜
  • Valley GardenerValley Gardener Posts: 2,729
    edited July 2020
    Thats a lot of Tulips. I always store mine in brown paper bags,snipping off the stem if there's any left. I think it pays to get a few new ones each season, to keep the whole looking good,just in case.
    Just a quick edit.....if you also have Alliums,best to get new each year,as they can be very hit and miss.
    The whole truth is an instrument that can only be played by an expert.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 13,760
    I don't think lifting them and then immediately replanting will give them a better chance of re-flowering, just give you more work to do.
    @Valley Gardener, I totally disagree about Alliums, I garden on fairly heavy soil, but the majority multiply and self seed very nicely.
    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,409
    I suspect most of us don't plant them deep enough. I know I don't, or didn't.
    I'm going to try harder - 'they' say 6 inches/15cms deep if you want them to return the following year, that's a whole trowel blade deep!
    It will also reduce the chance of digging them up accidentally while weeding, which tends to happen to my garlic especially.
  • Valley GardenerValley Gardener Posts: 2,729
    edited July 2020
    @punkdoc.  Do you have to do anything special to make them self seed?  I love the really big ones but never get more than say 2 back, out of 6,  So Ive been getting new each year,the smaller ones seem to be ok. 
    I'll remember that piece of advice @Buttercupdays,it would save a lot of dosh!
    The whole truth is an instrument that can only be played by an expert.
  • RTanz
    Hi I was given a tip to plant bulbs in pond baskets with wire handles and when finished flowering and foliage going over, take out of border and say put behind shed till replanting time.  I certainly hope this works as the tulips were beautiful this year.
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