We have had a frost and a night of freezing and our annual summer bulb flowers don’t look so good now. It’s time to save our bulbs for next year here in Colorado. If you covered them from the frost and they still look good you have a couple more weeks to enjoy them. We are zone 5 here in the Denver Metro area so if you are zone 5 or lower it’s time to think about winterizing.
The important thing to remember is to do this before the soil freezes. If the soil freezes the bulb will freeze and will be dead. If the leaves are brown and the stems are still green it’s time to winterize them.
Dahlias, Cannas, tuberous begonias, gladiolous, and pineapple lilies can be saved in the pot or dug up and saved to replant next year. Summer bulbs are costly but may be used over and over if properly stored during the winter.
If bulbs are in pots you can just cut them back. If in the ground you can dig them up and put them in plastic bags (do not close the bag or the bulbs will rot). Leave the bag open so the bulbs can breathe.
Store the bulbs in a cool dark place free from frost or freezing. This could be a basement or a garage. In the Spring you can bring them out and get them started again. If they are in pots, you can start them in a window inside about April. Just start watering them and they’ll start growing again. If you plant them in the ground, wait until you think it’s the last frost and replant them outside.
If you’re brave and want to chance it you can mulch your dahlias and gladiolous with extra mulch and if the winter is not too cold they may survive. Last winter wasn’t too cold but it’s predicted we’ll have a long cold winter this year so it’s a chance you take.
So far, so fun.
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