Lifting & Storing Tulip Bulbs

Transplanting Tulips

Easy instructions for lifting and storing tulip bulbs. Tips for transplanting tulips while their leaves are still green. When to dig and divide perennial tulips that are normally left in the ground.

Tulip garden at a hotel in Holland.

Tulip Garden at a Hotel in Holland

Why Lift Your Tulips?

Most tulip plants are somewhat tender. If left in the ground after the foliage has died down, the bulbs are likely to choose the wrong moment to resprout. If they begin to grow too early in the year, the new growth could be singed by frost.

To prevent this, and to insure good health and abundant bloom, the bulbs are normally lifted and stored once the leaves have withered.

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How to Lift Tulip Bulbs

A fork is preferable to a shovel when lifting bulbs as it is less likely to slice through the bulbs and damage them while you are digging up the clumps.

  1. Insert the fork carefully at the outer edge of the planting angling it in toward the clump as you push down on the handle. Be sure to push the fork tines deeply enough into the soil to place them blow the bulbs.
  2. Lift the clump by gently pulling the handle of the fork back toward your body.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until all the bulbs are out of the ground.
  4. Now you are ready to clean the bulbs.

Cleaning Tulip Bulbs

Before storing tulip bulbs, you must make sure that they are clean, dry and undamaged.

  • Use your fingers to separate the bulbs and shake any loose soil from them.
  • Examine the bulbs. If you see signs of disease (dark spots, scabby patches), decay, or wounds, dust or spray them with a fungicide.
  • Lay the bulbs in shallow trays in a cool, dry place until it is time to replant them.

When you replant stored tulip bulbs, separate the undersized bulbs from the large bulbs.

Plant only the large bulbs in your display beds as these will provide the most blooms.

Plant the smaller bulbs in an out-of-the-way reserve bed to gain size.

Transplanting Tulips
When and Why

If you want to replant you tulip border to summer annuals, you will need to move them before they are ready to be lifted for the season.

Right after the last bloom fades, dig the plants up and replant them close together in any sunny area with well drained soil to continue growing until the foliage dies down naturally at which time you will lift and store them in the usual fashion.

By transplanting tulip plants and replacing them with bedding flowers, you can maximize your gardening space.

Related Pages:

Saving Geraniums Over the Winter

Saving Tomato Seeds

Overwintering Begonia Tubers

Winter Care for Canna plants and Tubers

Liriodendron tulipifera: Tulip Flowers on a Majestic Shade Tree!

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