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How to store tulip bulbs and save them for next year |

By Vaseline May27,2024

If you’ve enjoyed a stunning display of your spring flowers and are now wondering how to store tulip bulbs, don’t worry. We are here with all the advice.

Tulips are a real spring favorite with their satiny petals and a beautiful spectrum of shades. But they can be a bit more picky than others. While crocuses, daffodils and all woodland bulbs (such as anemones, snowdrops and bluebells) can happily remain in the ground all year round, tulips generally will not respond well to this low-maintenance approach. If they do bloom again (and some simply don’t), the show will be much less spectacular than in their first year.

One option is to buy fresh tulip bulbs every year, but if you plant tulips everywhere in your garden, the costs can quickly add up. A cheaper alternative is to lift them out of the ground once they have finished blooming and replant them the following fall. It may take some extra effort, but the results will be worth it. Below you will find all tips for storing tulip bulbs.

Tulip bulbs ready to plant

(Image credit: Getty Images/© Jackie Bale)

Storing tulip bulbs in 5 easy steps

Learning when to plant tulips is easy. But knowing how to save tulip bulbs by preserving them doesn’t have to be difficult. All you need are a few simple steps to prepare for a wonderful spring event every year.

Digging up tulip bulbs ready for summer storage

Dig up your tulip bulbs as soon as the leaves have turned yellow

Credit: Dorling Kindersley ltd/Alamy Stock Photo

  1. Kill your tulips once the flowers have finished blooming (unless they are tulip varieties, which should be encouraged to disperse their seeds for more flowering). However, don’t be tempted to cut down the foliage. If you keep it intact, it can return the nutrients to the bulb. Wait until the leaves wither and turn yellow, about six weeks after flowering. When this happens, it’s time to lift them up.
  2. With the blade still attached, gently lift the bulbs with a small hand shovel or garden fork, such as this model from Amazon.
  3. Once lifted, sweep away all soil and remove any diseased or damaged bulbs.
  4. “You should store them somewhere dark and well-ventilated, in containers, a paper bag or a mesh bag, like this one from Amazon,” says Rachel Bull, head of Gardens at H&G. ‘The best thing you can do is keep them warm and dry, around 20 degrees Celsius is ideal, but make sure there is a bit of air flow to prevent your bulbs from rotting. I kept mine in a dryer last year. If you’re lucky enough to have one with some extra space, this is an ideal solution for storing lamps. Check them every now and then to make sure they aren’t rotting or looking withered.’
  5. When they have dried out and during planting, separate the bulbs. The large bulb is your main flower for next year. Plant these in the fall as you would plant a new bulb. Smaller bulbs that develop on the main stem can be potted up. We explain how to do this below.
Rachel Bull, Head of Gardens
Rachel Bul

Rachel is a garden writer, flower grower and floral designer. Her journalistic career started fifteen years ago Rural life magazine, which encourages a love for container gardening and wild plants. After more than a decade writing and editing for a range of consumer, business and special interest titles, Rachel became editor of the floral art magazine The flower arranger. She then trained and worked as a floral designer and stylist in London for six years before joining the H&G team.

How to plant tulip bulbs or side bulbs

colorful tulips

(Image credit: iBulb)

To get the most out of tulip bulbs, carefully remove them and replant them in a container of compost about an inch deep. Water them and place them in a sheltered, sunny part of the garden to develop strongly.

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