Storing bulbs for winter

It’s time to lift your canna lilies, dahlias and gladiolus bulbs to store them over the winter. (Submitted photo)

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It’s time to lift the canna lilies, dahlias and gladiolus ready for next year’s planting.

First cut all the foliage down to approximately four inches. Take a fork and gently lift the bulb. Cannas usually grow large and can be difficult, but try to lift complete. Shake off as much soil as possible and set out on a sheet in a dry place (garage floor) and turn over until completely dry. You may need to wash them if soil is clinging, but it is preferable to just dry them. At this time, you can clip long roots off and shorten the stem more. Dahlias may break apart but keep all the pieces as they will flower next year. If the gladiolus have multiplied, they can be split to make extra bulbs.

Now you will need some open mesh bags similar to onion bags to store them over the winter. An alternative is to use milk crates, but any open storage box will serve that purpose or the brown paper sacks purchased for leaves and garden waste.

Next, either place in a basement, closet or cool dry area – do not store them in a garage unless heated as they will freeze. They need dry air and darkness to keep them dormant. If you smell mould you will need to remove any rotting bulbs. They will ‘sit’ until spring when you can set them out on a sheet and watch them sprout to life.

Cannas are the most rewarding as they grow knobs which are the start of the next flowers. As early as late March they can be potted for container focal points. Good luck with your storage.

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