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Slide 16
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Summer bulbs can be easily overwintered. Here’s a small list of common tropical plants that have bulbs or tubers which can be overwintered indoors.

Canna lily, Dahlias, Elephant ear, Tuberous Begonias (not all begonias are tuberous), Gladiolas, Caladium, Calla lilies and Sweet potato vine to name a few.

The best time to dig up tropical bulbs for overwintering indoors is in the fall after the first few frosts have turned the leaves brown. (do not wait until ground is frozen solid) This will trigger the plants to go dormant naturally. Cut most of the foliage off before digging the bulbs, leaving enough of the stalk to use as a handle if possible. To avoid damaging the bulbs, start digging several inches away from the stems of the plants. Dig around the entire root to loosen it up, and then lift it out of the ground.

Carefully loosen up the clump of bulbs, removing as much dirt as possible. Cutting off some of the roots will help, however don’t cut off all the roots. The goal is to loosen up the bulbs and remove the bulk of the dirt. Separate individual bulbs as much as possible. Tender bulbs can be overwintered as one big clump, but splitting them can help prevent rotting.

Healthy bulbs are firm, not mushy. To reduce the chance of your tender bulbs rotting or going mushy or moldy allow the bulbs to dry out for a few days before overwintering indoors. To do this lay out newspaper and then spread the bulbs out on the newspaper. (usually in the garage or basement) The larger the bulb, the longer the dry out time.

Once the bulbs have dried pack them up. You can use cardboard boxes or you can use paper bags. We do not recommend using plastic containers or plastic bags for overwintering bulbs, unless it is very well ventilated. (moisture/rotting) You can wrap the bulbs in newspaper, or you can pack them in peat moss or saw dust. Whatever you choose to use to store your bulbs, make sure it is dry before packing. (labeling the bulbs is always a good idea).

Those grown in containers can be left right in the pots. Stop watering them to encourage dormancy. Trim the foliage and stems back to the soil level then put them in a dry, frost-free place for the winter (label).

Any questions about storing tender summer flowering bulbs we are here to help you.

Happy Gardening.

 

 



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