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Ian Grainger

Hi all, newbie gardener here, after some advice on what I can do with my springtime bulbs now they have finished flowering.

I grew all of my bulbs in containers this year and have enjoyed a wonderful and colourful spring! I had quite a mix and have enjoyed pots of colour from bulbs including Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinth, Grape Hyacinth, Crocus, Snowdrops and Anemone!

However, now that they are all coming to an end, I'd like to reuse the pots for my summer flowers. Rather than just empty the pots and starting again, I was wondering if there were any way I could salvage the bulbs and save them for next year?

Would it be possible to dig up the bulbs, trim back the leaves and store them indoors, ready to be planted out again in the late autumn?

I'd particularly like to keep the Hyacinth and Tulip bulbs if at all possible!


You can but its best to keep them growing for around 6 weeks till the green foilage dies back or yellows - as that is now providing food for the bulb ready for next year.


Once they have died back you can dry them off.. store them in a dry place in some wood shavings or animal bedding.. re plant in the autumn


If your snowdrops are still in the green you can lift them, split them and plant them now.

flowering rose

you either leave them  or dig them up and put in a pot or tub and cover with soil (to prevent drying out  and wet occasionally and leave in shed till autumn but its best to leave them if you can and divide if need be.

Orchid Lady

Hi Ian and welcome, I'm also a fairly newbie to this and have learnt loads already this year.

I dug up all my daffs from their pots as they were in the same one as my Lillie's and I wanted to sow annuals direct.  I have planted them in a spare big plant pot and put them in my 'spare' area to die down in peace 

My tulips/crocus that are in the same pots will stay there as I don't need those pots but   I will just move them and replace with my dwarf beans in pots in a couple of weeks.

Hope this help.

I have a trench on my allotment set aside for container bulbs. I take them out carefully leaving the root structure as intact as possible and lay them in the trench, add some BFB cover them and water copiously for a week. When they die back I lift and store them. I lose some but not many. Others I pop into spaces in the garden to flower next year. It works for me, but others will have different views.



You could do a spot of that commando style gardening (or whatever it's called) and put them in a communal space so that next spring lots more people will be able to enjoy them.

Orchid Lady

Would commando style gardening not be similar to what Chalie Dimmock did?? LOL, I'm sure my OH would be well impressed 

Ian Grainger

Thank you all for your answers! I'll wait for the leaves to die back before doing anything! Then I think I'll move them to old pots in an 'out of the way' place if I can find one!

Orchid Lady

I've just read on the What to do now section to feed spring bulbs with a liquid feed, I've never done this before but if the experts say then I'd better do it  Is liquid feed like tomato feed or is there something else?? 

I always feed my bulbs with Tomato fertiliser as this has a higher level of potash which  is good for underground bits and doesn't encourage an overgrowth of green growth. Keep pots well watered and I use the feed every 10 days. Keep the leaves on until they die back naturally, if I need the pot I empty them out then store the bulbs in a cool garage, although I have left them in pots too. Tulips need sorting as they produce small bulbs around the parent I haven't space to grow the babies on. Strangely they get popped into the compost bin end up on a border and often set up a little it.

Shrinking Violet

I also grow my spring bulbs in containers.  Feed them with tomato fertiliser and let them die back naturally.  You can either leave them in the container or place them in a trench or pot, covered with soil/compost while they gradually die down.

What I have found works well is (1) label them!  You think you'll remember what they are but . . .  (2) remove the dead foliage and put the bulbs into the legs of old tights.  Don't pack them in too tightly, but then hang them up (an airy cool shed or garage is ideal) and the air will circulate and prevent mould forming on the bulbs.  Then, in the autumn, they can be re-planted. 

Be aware that some tulips are better at this than others.  Queen of the Night is, I believe, rather difficult to keep year on year - and I've never had real success with it.  But Negrita, also a dark burgundy/black is more likely to succeed.


Good luck!

I empty out my pots of daffs, tulips etc into an old wheelbarrow in a fairly shady corner of my small garden. I cover the bulbs with compost, leaving the long leaves hanging over the sides, allowing them to die down naturally. Best to make sure the seed heads are cut off, or the plant will just put energy into making this bigger, rather than back into the bulb. I give the pile a couple of doses of seaweed feed, or tomato feed over the next week or so, then just wait until the leaves have turned brown and easily separate from the bulb. Once this happens, I wait for a couple of dry days and spread out the bulbs in the sunshine to help dry them out. I find they then store really well, but do make sure you aren't trying to store anything damaged or mouldy. It is easy to see which bulbs are which as they all have different shapes. I store them in paper bags, ready to be planted up in October (daffs) and November (tulips). Seems to work year after year so far!

Pansyface..........I think it's called Guerrilla Gardening  rather than Commando gardening...........   Tho unsure whether you have to wear camouflage when doing it Whatever you wear, it is a good idea when you have excess and know of a patch waiting to be used.  Just being careful what you plant "in the wild" is worth bearing in mind tho.

If I let the bulbs stay in the same pots over the summer, can I put them in the cellar, or do they need some light even when the leaves have died down?

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