Hard to believe fall is just around the corner. With cooler temps coming, its time to get ready to lift summer blooming bulbs before they freeze.
Most non hardy summer flowering bulbs such as cannas, begonias, dahlias and caladiums should be dug and stored when the leaves on the plants begin to turn yellow. Carefully work around the area with a spading fork to loosen the soil, then gently lift the bulbs from the ground. Brush off any soil that clings to the bulbs. Spread the bulbs in a shaded area to dry. When dry, store them away from sunlight in a cool, dry basement, garage or shed at 60 F to 65 F.
Avoid temperatures that get below 50 F or above 70 F. Inspect your bulbs for signs of disease. Keep only large, healthy bulbs that are firm and free of spots or damage.
One way to store the bulbs is to keep them in paper bags hung by strings from the ceiling or wall. Separate your bulbs by color or variety before storing them to help with organization. Its hard to remember after a few months what is what.
Be sure that air can circulate around your stored bulbs. Never store bulbs more than two or three layers deep as deep piles of bulbs promote decay. Bulbs can be stored in a container with peat moss, sand, perlite or vermiculite. Do not divide or separate bulbs before storing them.
With these easy to do tips, you won't have to replace the same bulbs year after year. By watching for end of season sales, often you can buy summer blooming bulbs for pennies. They will multiply, allowing you to garden more lavishly and share with friends and family.