While fixing up our house we have found a lot of things. A couple of weekends ago I added 307 spider lily bulbs to the list. I worked for hours digging them out of the earth. It was great!
The dirt was soft from the rain the day before and it was like going on a treasure hunt. So after digging them up I wondered what I should do with them. I could replant them. The end of summer and beginning of fall is when spider lilies bloom anyways, but that’s a lot of bulbs to plant! Then I got the idea to make a raised flower bed just for them.
Instead of planting them, I’ll store them and plant the buds next spring so they’re ready! The thing is, having not done any gardening at all, I had no idea how you store bulbs. With a little investigating (i.e. consulting my Mother-in-Law and Google) I found out what to do! Turns out Tupperware isn’t really the best way to store them.
The first thing that should be done is setting your bulbs out to dry. This could be overnight, a couple of days, or even a week. You shouldn’t let them sit out for longer than a week. Once that is finished you’re ready to put them away.
You will need:
A toothbrush (not the current one you use to clean your teeth) or other kind of brush to gently clean the dirt off the bulbs.
A container or box to keep the bulbs safe. I chose to get a cardboard box lined with newspaper for extra protection.
Sand or peat moss to put in the container.
You’ll start by cleaning the dirt off the bulbs. They don’t have to be super sparkly clean but you don’t want them still caked in mud either.
Once all of the cleaning is done you’re ready to put them in storage. You want a container that breathes to prevent the bulbs from molding. Moldy bulbs = bad bulbs that won’t grow in the spring.
These bulbs won’t work!
Put the sand or peat in the container and start placing bulbs. You don’t want them to be too squished together. They need a little bit of space. This will also keep them from coming into contact with other bulbs that might have mold or something else funky. Depending on how many bulbs you have you can layer them until the box is full.
Once the box is full, be sure to label the box and then it is ready to store in a cool dry place. That could be a closet or the garage. Wherever they won’t get too warm or wet.
Be sure to check on them once a month just to make sure they are okay. Gently squeeze bulbs to see if they are firm or squishy. If you happen to find squishy bulbs remove them from the box. If they seem a little too dry you can spritz them with a little water to get them back to normal. Now you have bulbs that will be ready to plant next spring!
P.S. While this article is specifically for Spider Lily bulbs the same basic procedure can be used for other bulbs. Cleaning them off, putting them in newspaper, and then placing them in a container that can breathe works for just about any plant bulb. Be sure to check with someone who knows about storing bulbs, or the internet for any other guidelines for your specific plant.