Skip to Content

This Is The Best Way To Store Tulip Bulbs And Keep Them Ready For The Next Season

This Is The Best Way To Store Tulip Bulbs And Keep Them Ready For The Next Season

Sharing is caring!

The tulip season has officially ended and, yes, it makes me sad, too. But don’t worry my fellow growers – next spring, your spring garden can be a vibrant showcase of these beauties again.

But… there’s always a but, right? Tulips won’t feel thrilled if you just leave them in the ground. Call them drama queens, but they simply can’t develop healthily in such conditions. 

I left them in the ground a few seasons ago and they did, indeed, bloom the next year, but the blossoms were anything but beautiful. They were way smaller and there were only a few of them.

So, what to do? It’s simple; just lift the bulbs from the ground and store them! It might seem tricky but, trust me, if I can pull it off, anyone can!

All You Need To Do Is To Follow These Steps

Where are your gardening gloves? Put them on right away because we’ll do some lifting to begin!

Step #1: Start With This

Ok, not so fast! Before lifting, there’s one thing to do to your tulips that will make this entire process way easier. So, once all the blossoms fade, deadhead them using a clean and sharp pair of scissors. 

DO NOT cut off the leaves yet because they’ll send the nutrients back to the bulbs. You should wait until they wither and become yellow.

This is our signal for lifting!

Step #2: One, Two, Lift!

Now you need to carefully lift your tulip bulbs with a garden fork or a hand trowel

Gently remove the soil around the bulbs, and if you find any damaged or diseased bulbs, make sure to dispose of them.

Step #3: Ensure The Necessary Conditions 

It’s time to find a perfect spot for storing! A paper bag or a tray seems perfect for keeping the bulbs. 

The room where you intend to keep your tulip bulbs should be darker, have good air circulation, and temperatures should be around 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

A cupboard works best, but if you don’t have one, just follow the instructions I gave you for the ideal spot. 

Make sure to inspect your stored tulip bulbs regularly and remove any that are withered or rotten.

Step #4: Separate

Once your tulip bulbs dry out well, it’s time to separate them

You’ll notice that there’s one bigger bulb surrounded by a few smaller ones that we call the bulblets

The large bulbs are actually the ones you’ll plant in the ground and they’ll flower abundantly the next spring.

And This Is How You Plant The Bulblets

Many growers don’t know what to do with the bulblets and simply toss them away or add these tulips to their compost pile

Well, there’s no need to do any of that because, with a little effort, these bulblets can bloom in their second year

Fill a smaller container with about an inch of compost and transplant the bulblets. Find a spot for these tulips-to-be where they will receive partial sun.

Don’t be discouraged if you see the leaves are grassy and too thin. They’ll develop slowly and you can transplant them into well-prepared flower beds the second fall.

How Long Can You Keep Your Tulip Bulbs In Storage?

I’m sure you’re wondering how long you can keep your tulip bulbs stored this way. Of course, there isn’t a precise answer but, generally, it’s around 12 months.

However, all the conditions must be favorable for your tulip bulbs to last this long.

You may have noticed that there’s an expiration date when purchasing bulbs, so remember that too.

Honestly, I never think of time but I always check the viability of the bulbs. For instance, if my tulip bulbs look firm and they’re plump when I touch them, they’ll do perfectly fine after planting. 

On the other hand, if they’re too soft or brittle, they won’t develop and flower as expected. 

What About Leaving Them In Pots?

I’m sure there are many of you who keep their tulips in containers. They look absolutely spectacular when grown this way but leaving them in pots year-round may not be the best idea ever

They most likely won’t display any blooms the next season, so why waste your time and effort? 

Even though most gardeners throw the bulbs out after flowering, I experimented a bit and lifted these bulbs, too. Luckily, it worked and they bloomed the next spring. 

So, what’s your call? To store or not to store? The first option, of course! Lifting and storing those tulip bulbs guarantees a stunning bloom display next spring!