Bulbs- do I need to lift them from the ground in BC?

Discussion in 'Annuals, Biennials, Perennials, Ferns and Bulbs' started by anituchka, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. anituchka

    anituchka Active Member

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    Location:
    Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada
    HI, I have a number of Dahlias and Anemons. Do I need to lift them in the fall or can I keep them through the winter? What is the best if I want to continue having big beautiful flowers. If I keep them in the soil is it best to cover them or mulch?

    Also, what about spring bulbs? I bought some rare varieties of tulips and narcisses and want to keep them for many years. Any suggestions?

    Is there a difference if I keep them in pots?

    Thanks

    P.S. I live in Maple Ridge. The soil is mostly clay.
     
  2. I wanna know

    I wanna know Active Member

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    Location:
    Southeastern Wi. USA
    Dalias definitly have to be lifted. In my zone 5. They are lifted
    wiped off let dry cut top growth off and stored in peat moss or
    saw dust in a dark cool place that is dry. Then replanted in spring. Narcisses, daffodills I leave in ground for many years until
    they need thinning and separating. I'm just not sure about your
    tulips. If they are rare you may want to contact the co. you purchased them from and tell them your zone and low tempuratures. They may have indepth info for those tulips. I heard that our tulips today only last 3 years or so but I know
    people who have had them for years. Sprinkle some bone meal
    in the hole and work it into the soil at the bottom when planting.
    Then do as much reading as you can.
     
  3. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Re: the dahlias...my dahlia club neighbour has helped me with their agreed on "system" for overwintering tubers. To keep nice big flowers, they find it necessary to dig and replant the following spring, using only one modest tuber per planting hole to keep them from getting crowded and smaller flowering.

    Their system is to dig the tubers after most of the tops have died, wash off soil then cut off the desired tuber with a "neck" attached (this is where the buds are, very important or no plant next year!). They dip the whole tuber in a dilute bleach solution to eliminate any rot causing baddies. They also dust the cut end with powdered sulphur (same stuff you buy for fungicide sprays, straight elemental sulphur in very fine powder). Then they let them dry a while, and store them in fine vermiculite. I've used both open trays and plastic bags, but watch that moisture doesn't build up in a bag. Keep them in your coolest frost free area, basement or cold room usually works.

    In my sandy soil, dahlias usually overwinter here...but I would think your clay would be hard on them...more likely to rot. Especially with some mulch, the cold usually is not able to reach all the tubers in the ground...our winter wet is more of a problem.

    As I said, tho, the enthusiasts all dig their plants to keep them from crowding, results in an excellent show each year guaranteed.
     
  4. anituchka

    anituchka Active Member

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    Thank you, growest, for a detailed response. One question: do you suppose I could keep my dahlia tubers in a fridge in a plastic box filled with peat moss? thanks a lot
     
  5. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    The fridge is a bit colder than ideal, but I can see it working for dahlias. Keep an eye on the container, and open it for a while if you see moisture condensing inside...you want to keep the tubers as dry as possible without actually shriveling.

    Peat moss should be good, too... I've also used potting bark successfully, anything that holds the moisture evenly around the tuber while still allowing air to diffuse around as well.

    Like most people in modern houses, you might not have a "cold" spot in your house...a nice steady 8C would be great for a lot of overwintering things but where do you find that! So I hope those sharing the fridge are understanding...
     
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  6. I wanna know

    I wanna know Active Member

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    Location:
    Southeastern Wi. USA
    Yes, we always dig tubers for dahlias, cannas here in zone 5.Thanks for the additional info. on dipping and separating. Now
    the tulips that she was talking about being rare and different. I just wasn't quite sure about. Has anyone heard what I heard about tulips only lasting 3 to 4 years? She didn't know if she should lift those also. I would be interested in knowing if that is true. It was just something I heard.
     
  7. I wanna know

    I wanna know Active Member

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    The Anemones I have no clue on. I have never grown them at
    all.
     
  8. anituchka

    anituchka Active Member

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    I read about some hybrid tulips and narcisses that they only last 1 or 2 years, then they disappear. It really disappointed me as I wanted to try different varieties this year. If somebody knows anything about spring bulbs- how can you make them last longer than 1 year, it would be greatly appreciated.

    I spoke with an owner of Botanus company, here in Langley. They specialize in bulbs. She said that you need to provide ideal conditions for spring bulbs: well-draining soil, lots of sun and good spacing in order for them to survive for more than 1 year. BUt she said they still "disappear" with time. By her tone, I understood that her customers replant spring bulbs every year.... that's sad, as they are not cheap!
     
  9. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Rodents will eat some tulip bulbs. Some planted in about 1' sand seem to have been good for quite a few years now. The little early blooming species tulips seem to be fine left in the ground with no damage. Some plant the tulips in mesh type baskets and lift them a while after blooming, then replant in the fall. With narcissus , different varieties behave differently also. Think the narcissus fly damages and kills a lot of them. Eggs laid near bottom of leaves, then they hatch and go down to the base of the bulb and enter near the basal plate and the grub eats the bulb from within. Maybe if the foliage was covered the fly couldn't lay the eggs near the foliage base. Some types seem more susceptible than others, maybe more to do with when the fly is active. The commercial growers lift the bulbs and treat them somehow about every 2-3 years i think, with hot water and maybe some chemicals, to kill the grubs and protect the bulbs. The rodents seem to leave the narcissus alone here. With decent care some varieties multiply well.
     
  10. anituchka

    anituchka Active Member

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    It's October now, and my dahlias are still blooming like crazy. They still have lots of buds. WHen am I supposed to lift them? When they wilt? This will probably happen in November. So, suppose I lift them at the end of November, when do I plant them in the spring? March or April?
     
  11. Ian61

    Ian61 Member

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    Location:
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    Wait until the frost has killed the foliage, then you can lift them and air dry the bulbs for a brief period. Dust them with garden sulpher, and bury them in slightly damp peat moss (I use a plastic bucket). Store in a cool/cold dark area for the winter. Check the bulbs in late April or early May for sprouting. You can pot them up indoors and then plant them out when the weather warms up and the threat of frost is past.
    I plant my dahlias right out into the garden in early May, but I place a thick layer of straw over them to keep the frost away from the sprouts. That way, I avoid having to start them indoors in pots.

    Hope this helps a bit.
    Ian
     
  12. stforster

    stforster Member

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    Location:
    Bowen Island, BC, Canada
    anituchka said:
    You might consider the species tulips, for example Tulipa clusiana 'Peppermint Stick' or 'Lady Jane,' T. humilis 'Little Beauty,' and T. praestans 'Van Tubergans Variety.' These tulips will naturalize (reproduce) if given acceptable cultural conditions (which is generally not difficult).

    The Tulipa species are smaller than hybrid tulips, but they more than make up for this in their beauty, grace, and utility in filling those spots that need filling in spring. Despite their small bulb size, they can still be planted deep enough to be overplanted with crocus for a succession display.

    Steve
     
  13. anituchka

    anituchka Active Member

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    Hi, again. My dahlias are still blooming. It's 10th of November. I am afraid that the rodents might eat them or some other insects. I left my carrots till the middle of October and some of it was eaten by some pests.

    What should I do? Lift them now or still wait till they die? I can't beleive they are still blooming!!
     
  14. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes the dahlias are still blooming, tho quite bedraggled from all the rain...I wouldn't say they are very decorative but it's nice to have a few bright spot in the garden, isn't it?

    I doubt there is much to fear from leaving them till the tops are burnt by frost, we imagine this will force a bit more goodies from the tops into the roots, tho there is lots of root already down there to store for the winter.

    The only problem would come with a sudden fierce arctic snap, like we had late Nov. last year...that might freeze the ground to the depth of some of the tubers...keep an eye out for that and get them dug beforehand.

    As long as they are quite alive and even blooming I have more urgent garden priorities, so there they stay for now!
     
  15. I wanna know

    I wanna know Active Member

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    Location:
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    There are a few old sayings for this. An ounce of prevention etc.
    I would pull them before you loose them. It's nearly the holidays
    here and you are farther north than I am. Down here we go by
    zones and know our average hard frost and freeze times. My roses
    are still blooming here and it's the 10th of Nov. I cut a few for
    the house the other night. Now I'm waiting for a freeze so I can
    cut them back severly. If you want those bulbs or tubers I would
    get them before the hungry animals do or the freeze takes them.
    You are the best judge. Trust yourself. Or write via e-mail to a
    company on the internet and tell them where you are, they aren't
    real busy right now. If you want expert advice. Remember they
    want your business so they just might be willing to encourage
    you to have good luck gardening so you will remember them when
    you want to buy something. I would move sooner rather than
    later on this. then enjoy them another season. Good luck .
     
  16. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    I live near UBC and have tried both leaving dahlia tubers in all winter and lifting them, waxing them, and storing them. I have never lost a dahlia that I left in the ground over the winter. So I just dig them, when I do so, in order to cut off excess tubers so as to avoid a mass of tubers generating many, but unacceptably tiny, flowers.

    I only have space for 8, and they are alive and well - but no longer flowering, so I expect to cut them within a few weeks, or when a hard freeze is predicted. It is supposed to drop to 3 deg C Wed nigh, and my yard is generally about 1 deg C lower than the forecast, but a temp of 2 deg C would not warrant cutting the dahlias.
     
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  17. anituchka

    anituchka Active Member

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    Location:
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    I think I will dig them out next week. Though they are still blooming they are not very decorative, as growest mentioned. :)

    Now, does anyone know if I can leave other bulbs for the winter? I have anemones, begonias, calla lilies, candle flowers. Anemones are still flowering... Any ideas?
     
  18. I wanna know

    I wanna know Active Member

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    Location:
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    In zone 5 southeastern Wisconsin we lift begonias before frost
    and over winter indoors, they are considered tender bulbs. I can't comment on the others as I have not grown them. I'm sure there must be someone out there who has though. Here's hoping they will share the knowledge. Sounds like you have a lot work ahead of you yet this season. Good Luck.
     
  19. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Out here near UBC begonias die if left in the ground over winter. Maybe 25% of them will survive one winter.
     
  20. anituchka

    anituchka Active Member

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    I had to dig the begonias out today as they broke from the storm.

    I am not sure about the candle flowers as they just started growing in Septembe!!!
    They were planted in April and were sitting in the ground doing nothing all summer. I thought they died but they started growing in September, no flowers though. Not sure what to do with them?

    Also, my Astrantia Moulin Rouge never flowered either and now just sits there looking sad, with no flowers..
     
  21. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    I planted an Astrantia in shade a few years ago. It grew so slowly that I even forgot at it was. Anyway, it finally bloomed this year, and I have to describe it as a huge disappointment. Flowers the size of clover flowers - nondescript from more than 12" away. I will either transplant it or compost it.
     
  22. Ottawa-Zone5

    Ottawa-Zone5 Active Member

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    I do a bit of short-cuts in gardening sometimes. I have one winter experience with dahlias. Last fall I dug my six dahlia plants, just shook off a bit of the soil and place them on top of dry maple leaves in a large paper bag and then put more maple leaves on top and stored them in a cooler dark place in the basement. I planted them in late April in the garden. Five of these grew normally and bloomed.
    This year I have done the same and just stored the five dahlias. Next spring I will check if I can divide any of these safely before replanting.
     

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