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Washing dug up tender bulbs/tubers ?

Posted by linnea56 z5 IL (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 8, 09 at 18:36

I just dug up some dahlias and calla lilies. In the process I ran across a few tuberous begonias as well. I thought I had brought all the pots containing those indoors before the first frost some weeks ago: I guess I had forgotten that these particular pots had begonias too. They look firm and healthy, though, even though we have had some nights below freezing.

I have them all soaking in the laundry tub right now. But maybe that was not right. I know I need to wash the dirt off the dahlias before storing them, but Im not sure about the callas and begonias. The begonias are hairy, Im not sure the dirt CAN be washed off.

This was my first year growing callas. They were not that great, but maybe next year will be better, with the tubers grown larger. They still have stems firmly attached even though frost killed the leaves a long time ago. Store them with the stems? To my surprise 2 of the flowers also had seeds, which I had not noticed. I brought those in too, though Im not sure what to do with them.

What do I store the callas in? Last year I stored the begonias in peat in the basement and they did fine. Its a finished basement and not really cold, but at least they lived. I have tried storing dahlias several times and have not had luck, but I will try again as these. I will not divide them, but store them whole, as I can never see eyes anyway.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Washing dug up tender bulbs/tubers ?

Hi Linnea56,

Please see link below.

I know what you mean about not being able to see the Dahlia eyes. I gave up on them years ago and just gave what I had to a neighbor. Next spring we are going to try once again to find the eyes and then she will maybe share some with me.

Sue...off to print daff labels and get to planting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Calla lilly bulbs


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RE: Washing dug up tender bulbs/tubers ?

Get the tubers out of the water, a little dirt is not a problem. Every thing needs to be put away DRY. Begonia tubers need a cool place with air and the tubers not touching each other. Do not rip the stems off the Callas just let them dry on the roots. Storing the dahlias whole with just the soil washed off is a good idea. In the spring I cover the whole dahlia with compost, usually in a wheel barrow, keeping the compost damp and check every few days for buds to appear on the tubers. With the appearance of the buds on the stem ends division becomes easy and straight forward. Al


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RE: Washing dug up tender bulbs/tubers ?

For your begonias in pots - you can put them away without cleaning. Pot and all.

In spring, when the new shoots start showing through shake out the old mix and repot. The shoots arrive before the roots. They're a lot like Cyclamen in that regard.

If the tubers are very small - say you've bought at the end of the season - try to keep them a little bit moist otherwise they dehydrate beyond recovery.

(In this zone they overwinter in the garden with not much except leaf fall as mulch. There's usually lots of rain. The frosts aren't crackers, maybe up to -7C. That's shown me that total dry is not that important unless you expect deep chilling in your storage area.)

Store them with a tag or similar so you don't have to wait until you get buds to remember what the colours and forms were. It's a pest finding a cascade where you expected an upright!


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RE: Washing dug up tender bulbs/tubers ?

I don't have anything as grand as Dahlias or Calla Lily but I have 4 "black carrot" 4 O'clock tubers I just turned in their daisy tray to make sure they're good and dry.

Deer would eat Dahlia and Callas here.

I wouldn't have known about the tubers had someone on Annuals forum not say they dig up each Fall and replant each Spring for head start. Got seeds for same plants if tubers don't make it. Fingers crossed.

So exciting thinking about what flowers will come next year. :)

My oldest niece is getting married next May 15th and wants only Calla Lily for her flowers...in pink and berry color range.


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RE: Washing dug up tender bulbs/tubers ?

Thanks, all! They are drying now.


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