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How long will bulbs last while out of the ground?

Posted by LullabyF360 8a (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 18:46

Not too far from now, my husband & I will start building a house. Naturally, I am wanting to move as many of plants to our new home. I already (roughly) have the layout of my flower beds drawn up. The opportunity for when I will be able to dig up & move my irises, hyacinths, elephant ears, daffodils, & lilies is too far into the future for me to guess. However, as a precaution, I wanted to go into this with as much knowledge as possible. I would like to know what my time frame will be to get everything back into the ground.

How long will bulbs last while out of the ground & in proper storage? Also is there a preferred time of the year in which any of my bulbs should be dug up?

I am NOT digging anything up now, just to clarify.


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RE: How long will bulbs last while out of the ground?

These are rough guesses. Bulbs have a dormant season after foliage dies. That is the time to dig. I've never kept bulbs out of ground for more than 2 months but maybe.in cold winter areas you have more leeway.
. Lilies are the most demanding of your to-be-moved. They shouldn't dry out. Nurseries sell them for ?.... 2 months. In peat in plastic bags.

Bearded iris can be dug at any time if you don't mind skipping bloom. Usually dug right after bloom or in late summer. Stored dry, 5 months. Expect them to sulk for 2 years.

Daffs & hyacinths - after foliage has yellowed at least 1/2 way it is fine to dig. Safe stored for 4 months, maybe 5. Ours have new root growth in Sept. Don't know if they do that in zone 8.

Elephants Ears - don't know their cycle but dig after foliage dies down, when dormant.

If bulbs are in active growth, a large shovelful of the root area has allowed me to move them without loss. I'm going to do that with a pink scilla that has shown up where it doesn't belong! Good luck.


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