Reuse of Bulbs from Containers

Posted on March 22, 2013

Reuse of Bulbs from Containers

Many potted bulbs can be saved for reuse, though hybrid Tulips will not put on the same quality of repeat show as species Tulips, Hyacinth or Narcissus. Fall is the optimal time to plant out saved bulbs and get the highest survival rate. Planting them out in spring is worth a try if you have no place for storage or are just eager to get them into the garden. Be sure to choose a location with well-drained soil whether planting in spring or fall.

If you'd like to try getting your potted bulbs into the garden in spring, do it as soon as the blooms are finished and the soil is workable. Leave all the green foliage and all the potting soil around the roots in place. Transplant into a hole in the garden deep enough for the top of the potting soil clump to be level with the garden soil surface. Water thoroughly, after planting.

Potted bulbs to be reused in fall still need sun and water, after flowering, in order to rebuild energy reserves before storage. Continue watering until the foliage yellows. When the leaves are brown and dried up, dump the container to retrieve the bulbs and lay them out to dry. Once dry, brush off any soil and trim off dead foliage before storing in a cool dry location until fall planting time.

For fall planting:

-Plant bulbs with the pointed side up. You will see some shriveled roots on the flatter side.

-Plant bulbs to a depth of about 3 times their diameter.

-Mix some bone meal or superphosphate into the soil at the bottom of the hole at planting time. This encourages strong roots.

-Cover the bulbs with soil. Water after planting, to help them settle, closing any air pockets

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