"Bucket" bulbs during winter

Ryan_HowardSeptember 21, 2013

Thanks in advance for any who reply.

This past spring, we made a new bed in front of our houses. It wasn't possible to till and amend the entire area, so instead, we dug holes for some plastic buckets, drilled some drainage holes, put an amended soil in them, and buried the buckets in the ground. We filled them with gladiolas, dahlias, phlox, hollyhocks and lilies, and are very pleased with how the bed turned out.

What I would like to do is pull the buckets out of the ground, and drop in new ones with tulips and other bulbs that need to be in the ground over the winter.

My question is: if I pull out the summer bucket bulbs and put them in the garage, can I keep them in the buckets over winter and not dig them out. Truthfully, it's just a time thing. My garage hovers just above freezing in the winter.



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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

The main thing for the lilies is that the potting mix never becomes bone dry over the winter. The bulbs will probably survive but will be too shrunken to perform well for the following summer if the mix gets to be dust-dry.

You didn't say which type of lily: while underground many asiatic, oriental and regal lilies will tolerate a few degrees of frost, even if the mix in the bucket should chance to freeze. So long as it thaws the day after the frosty night. Lilies rest. They don't do 'dormant' like some bulbs, so they need to keep taking in air and water, which freezing prevents.

Dahlias are much the same, particularly if you cover them with a light mulch that lets the air through (shredder paper, perhaps, so long as the mousies aren't nest building.) Provided the tubers are covered then hungry bugs, slugs and furry things 'should' leave them alone.

For me phlox and hollyhocks aren't completely dormant so I would say - make sure they get the best light you can manage otherwise they'll get to be long and a miserable greeny-yellow (etiolated) and too weak to beat off the bugs when spring comes around.

Gladdies - the species ones are already heading into leaf quite early in the spring in this zone. Depending in your growing zone you could be replanting anywhere from January to June. Keep the old mix barely moist - which shouldn't be too hard with the sandy mix they like.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 2:40AM
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