Dormant bulbs

Jim McKenney
Sat, 26 Jun 2010 13:09:27 PDT
I’m not a professional grower, just a back yard gardener, but I have had
some experiences which have a bearing on Jane’s questions. 


In particular, keep in mind that many bulbs when dug from moist soil will
lose water for a week or three after being dug. If placed in paper bags soon
after digging, there is always the chance that the moisture the bulbs lose
will cause the paper bag to disintegrate where the moisture accumulates. If
paper bags have been stacked or piled on one another, the bulbs might become


When digging bulbs from moist soil, avoid putting them into plastic bags,
open or closed. In this case, over time the water in the bulbs will pool in
the bag with potentially disastrous results. If you intend to replant within
a few days (and follow through) this will not be a problem. If you get busy
and don’t attend to the replanting for a couple of months, there is a good
chance you will get rotted bulbs.


The best bet when digging from moist soil is to allow the bulbs to dry for
at least several days in windrows or protected places (protected from both
sun and rainfall). Plastic berry baskets are good for small quantities of
bulbs, the sort of plastic basket weave containers made for apples and other
large fruits are another good choice. 


The main thing to remember is that many bulbs come out of the ground
containing excessive water, water which will be shed soon after digging.
Some way of allowing that water to escape from the bulb and the bulb
surroundings must be provided.  


For daffodils being moved from moist soil to dry soil, the main thing is to
get them out of the moist soil before the growth of new roots begins.
Daffodils in general are very forgiving about this, but it can’t be good for
them to initiate a first set of roots only to have that set perish in dry


Jim McKenney

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

My Virtual Maryland Garden



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