How Long Can Bulbs Live from the Ground?

It happens to the best of gardeners — while spring cleaning in the garage, you discover a bag of unplanted bulbs. Unlike seeds, a few of which can continue indefinitely, bulbs are living plants, and therefore, they can not live eternally from the ground. But exactly how much time a bulb can live depends in large part on the type of bulb and the way it’s been stored.

Prepared to Boost

Curled up inside every bulb is a flower waiting to grow. When the timing is appropriate — following the chilling period, once the bulb feels the warm, moist soil — the bulb will sprout along with the flower will grow. In the meantime, the bulb waits, but it won’t wait forever. Most don’t last more than a year from the earth, and only if they are stored properly, although this may vary by species. Generally, flower bulbs rot should youn’t get them in the ground soon enough. Because of this, flower bulbs must be planted as soon as possible.

Better Late Than Wait

If you order spring-blooming bulbs and they arrive after the ground has frozen, plant them anyhow — use your own muscles and function that hard ground. The exact same holds true for late-arriving summer-blooming bulbs: It’s better to plant them straight away than to try to hold them over until next year. Your chances of getting the lights to bloom are much better when you plant overdue. If you just can not get them in the ground, then dust off a few pots to fill with rich potting soil and plant the bulbs in the containers. Be certain the pots have sufficient drainagewater and water the soil . Store the containers in a spot where temperatures average around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Longest Survivors

Generally, spring-blooming bulbs are the hardiest, therefore they have the best chance of living the longest from the ground. Still, you need to be discerning. If you’ve discovered a box of old bulbs, or have been given some by somebody with great intentions, thank them politely and then set about separating the good from the evil. Healthy flower bulbs are firm and plump. Any wax which feels soft or contains mushy spots is probably suffering from decay and needs to be discarded. The exact same is true for bulbs which are cracked and dry, shedding scales or falling apart.

Storage Tips

Sometimes it’s just not possible to find the bulbs in the ground in a timely manner. If so, you need to store them correctly. Flower bulbs should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Particular storage temperatures vary depending on the type of wax, however generally speaking, non-tropical bulbs must be stored where the temperatures are consistently between 35 and 45 degrees F. Tropical bulbs can be stored in slightly warmer temperatures.

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