storing winter-growing bulbs during dormancy

Rodger Whitlock
Fri, 26 Oct 2012 11:48:48 PDT
On 25 Oct 2012, at 4:57, David Retief wrote:

> Hi Guys,
> I have a question I can't seem to get an answer for online...
> When storing winter-growing bulbs from the South African Cape Province, do I
> need to wet them occasionally in summer, or can I just leave them dry on shelves
> until they are planted again in autumn?  Last year I left some bulbs dry, and
> they were fine, sprouting strongly when watered again in autumn.
> I was also wondering if it is recommended to dust bulbs with sulphur or some
> fungicide, or is this not necessary when storage conditions are dry?

Leave them in their pots. If you notice excessive withering of the bulbs when 
you re-pot them, then you know you need to provide some water during dormancy,. 
This is perhaps most easily done by sitting the pot of dormant bulbs in, say, a 
quarter inch of water in a saucer.

Indeed, if your pots are deep enough, you can simply sit them in shallow water 
all through the dormant period.

I have the opposite problem: winter dormant, tender geophytes, specifically 
dahlias and the chocolate cosmos. These seem to survive the winter better 
stored bone dry, still in their pots, and given no water until active growth 
has begun in the spring. The same technique is useful for Pinellia cordata, 
which simply rots during our wet winters if planted in the open garden here.

Summer dormant cyclamen species have very deeply penetrating roots which 
continue to imbibe a little moisture all summer, keeping the tubers turgid. 
These do well in very deep pots sitting in shallow saucers of water all summer.
Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Z. 7-8, cool Mediterranean climate

More information about the pbs mailing list