Gorgeous tropical foliage bulbs and summer-flowering bulbs have started winding down as the cooler weather begins! Unless you are in the warmest growing zones of USDA zones 9, 10, and 11; where these bulbs can remain in the ground as perennials or semi-to-fully evergreen - then it is time to 'lift' your bulbs and get them stored away for the winter!
'Lifting' is just another term for digging up winter tender bulbs that won’t survive frozen ground or freezing temperatures. These are typically plants that need consistent year-round warmth or are tropical in nature, including -
These frost-tender bulbs in growing zones 7-8 and lower will not survive reliably, so it is best to allow your plants to see some light frosts to stop the top growth and for the plants to turn yellow and brown. Digging these bulbs must be done before the ground freezes - so don't forget!
Timing for digging these plants will vary depending upon the plant, and of course where you are growing them (your growing zone). Light frost will not penetrate the soil surface, but it will help your plants start to go dormant. Watch for the foliage to yellow or turn brown first, then it's time to dig!
Store in a cool, dark location that remains a consistent 35-45°F. Unheated garages, sheds, basements, or a root cellar are the perfect locations. They do best with 50% humidity. Check the bulbs often throughout the winter to make sure they remain in good health.
Some bulbs like the Elephant Ears and Caladium can be brought in before they die back from frost and kept as houseplants in a bright, indirectly sunny window. Calla Lilies can also be used as houseplants.
Once your forced winter bulbs and Amaryllis have finished blooming, trim away the flowers and their stems, but keep their foliage in a bright indirect sun window and water them moderately but regularly. This way the leaves will make food for the bulb.
Once the foliage dies back, trim away the leaves and leave them in their moistly dried pot of soil. Or you can remove them from the soil, clean them off and wrap them in newspaper. Store in a well-ventilated cool, dark location like other bulbs and plant them in your garden in the spring, or start them in pots again for the fall/winter months.
Don’t forget your Summer-Flowering bulbs while you are rushing to finish up your fall cleanup checklist this year! With a bit of work and planning, you’ll be able to enjoy your beautiful bulbs for years to come!
Check out all the newest Bulbs - both fall and spring-planted - hitting the website for 2024! We’ll hold your order and ship them to you at the proper planting time for your growing zone!