Annual or tender bulbs must be dug up and stored indoors during the winter. They do not survive cold temperatures. This important step to ensure their survival and a beautiful flowering the following year. Here's when and how to do it:

Which bulbs to bring in the fall

The following bulbs can be collected and stored for the winter:

  • canna rhizomes,
  • tubers of begonias or dahlias
  • gladioli corms
  • bulbs of callas, oxalis and caladium

When to bring in annual bulbs:

The ideal time to bring in the bulbs depends on your hardiness zone. As a general rule:

  • at the end of autumn
  • after the first light frost
  • When the leaves of the bulbs turn yellow or begin to wilt, growth for the year is over. They are ready to go dormant.

What to do to bring in the bulbs:

Here are the steps to follow to properly bring in the bulbs in the fall:

  1. Stop watering the bulbs once the leaves begin to turn yellow. They will gradually dry out to go dormant.
  2. When the leaves are completely wilted, cut them off about 5 cm (2 inches) above the ground. Cutting the stems prevents fungus or disease during storage.
  3. Use a spade or hand fork to carefully dig around the bulbs. Be careful not to damage them. Dig deep enough to lift them out of the ground.
  4. Carefully remove the soil around the bulbs. Gently shake off the excess soil. Gently brush or use your fingers to remove any remaining dirt.
  5. Place the bulbs in a dry, well-ventilated place for one to two weeks, without direct light. Let dry completely to prevent rot.
  6. Once the bulbs are completely dry, place them in a cool, dark, dry place for the winter. Store in wooden crates, gunny bags or perforated cardboard boxes to ensure good ventilation. Don't cram! Avoid places that are too humid or too hot.
  7. From time to time, check the bulbs for mold or disease. If necessary, remove quickly to prevent them from affecting others.
  8. In the spring, replant the bulbs in the ground, at the correct depth, when temperatures begin to warm.