Gardening Tips

How to preserve tulip bulbs

How to preserve tulip bulbs

Tulips are bulbous plants of the Liliaceae family that produce some of the most beautiful and striking flowers in the world of gardening. With more than 5,000 varieties, hybrids and cultivars in existence today, this flower became a symbol of the Netherlands, where its cultivation became especially popular.

Their variety of colors and patterns is so extraordinary that today tulips can be found in almost any color combination and in a wide variety of sizes. Nevertheless, save tulip bulbs It may not be as simple as it seems, but it is necessary to know the process well to avoid disasters between seasons. if you want to learn how to preserve tulip bulbs correctly, join us in this EcologíaVerde article.

How to preserve tulip bulbs step by step

With tulips, the general recommendation is always keep the bulb planted throughout the year so that its flowering is later as spectacular as possible. However, it may happen that we have acquired the bulbs too soon or that the weather is too cold, so it is necessary to store them outside the ground.

The ideal time to plant tulip bulbs is in the fall. Likewise, the bulbs do not tolerate temperatures below -10ºC in the soil, so if we have acquired them in spring or live in an area with very cold winters, we will have to store the bulbs until a more optimal time for them.

We may also need to remove our planted bulbs to shelter them from the colder weeks of winter. In any case, if you wonder how to preserve tulip bulbs properly, follow these steps:

  1. Cut the stems: use properly sterilized pruning shears to cut the bulbs of planted tulips when their flowers have already died. By doing so we prevent the plant from wasting energy on maintaining parts that would soon die anyway. Make the cut as low to the ground as you can, but cut only the stem, not the leaves.
  2. Wait for the leaves to dry and turn yellow: this takes approximately six weeks to occur, during which time the bulb will have stored energy from the sun thanks to its leaves. At this time, reduce the watering of the tulips to avoid rot problems. Use a shovel to loosen the soil around the bulb and finally carefully remove it.
  3. Extract the roots and leaves: By now, they should come off easily with the same hand, without you needing to resort to scissors. Still, if they don’t come off, use a sterilized pruning tool, the same one with which you should cut what’s left of the stem as close as you can to the base of the bulb, but without damaging it.
  4. Clean the bulbs: carefully remove any remaining dirt, dust, dirt or anything else with kitchen paper.
  5. Look for bulbs in poor condition: a tulip bulb should be hard and smooth. If you see soft or dark brown areas, this indicates decay issues. Given this, you can directly discard the bulb or try to clean the affected area with the absorbent paper itself. You can even prune the affected part if it is not very large.
  6. Store the bulbs in a cool, dry place for about 48 hours: they should not be exposed to the sun nor should there be humidity in the environment, either of which can cause rot.
  7. Wrap each bulb in newspaper: do it separately and choose where to save it. You can hang them in a typical onion or potato rack in a cool, dark room like a garage, in a closet or, if your climate is really hot, in the fridge. However, you have to pay attention to the recommendations below if you choose this last option.

Check the condition of your bulbs regularly and if they are very wrinkled or dry, then spray some water on them so that they maintain minimum levels of humidity and do not die. In the fall, but before the first frost comes, you can plant them again.

How to preserve tulip bulbs - How to preserve tulip bulbs step by step

Preserving tulip bulbs: dangers and common mistakes

watch out for these Common mistakes when storing bulbs and the dangers they may pose:

Not keeping them in the fridge is a mistake

One of the most common mistakes is to believe that the bulbs cannot be kept in the fridge. We can do it, and in some climates it is the most recommended, but you have to follow some guidelines for it.

First and foremost, don’t store them with other fruits or vegetables, which give off ethylene, a gas that kills tulip bulbs. The other important requirement is to keep them protected from the light of the fridge, so they have to be protected in an opaque drawer.

Not providing moisture is a very serious mistake

The other common mistake is not to provide them with moisture at all, since the bulb is alive and needs a certain amount of moisture. If a lot of time passes and your bulbs seem to be getting worse, use a water spray to give them some moisture, but change the newspaper after that.

How to preserve tulip bulbs - Preserving tulip bulbs: dangers and common mistakes

How long do tulip bulbs last?

It depends on each plant and the specific storage conditions, but the usual thing is that the bulbs can resist between 6 and 12 weeks If we take good care of the whole process. Extending the time of the bulb outside the ground is very likely to end badly, since it will have been deteriorating a lot and, surely, the plant will no longer be able to grow and develop.

In order for you to enjoy your tulip bulbs to the fullest, we recommend these other EcologíaVerde gardening guides on How to plant tulips and How to care for potted tulips. Also, down here you can see this guide to conserving tulip bulbs on video.

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