Friday, February 24, 2012

How to Separate Bulbs


Last week, when I wrote about preparing your borders for Spring, I mentioned separating your bulbs.  The best time to do this is late fall or early winter when the bulbs are dormant.  But if your bulbs haven't started coming up, you might be able to still do it.  Here's what to do:

1. If you haven't already trimmed back dead leaves, cut them back so they are a few inches above the soil.

2. Make a large circle around the plant with a trowel, then carefully dig below the bulbs.  You want to make sure that you leave the root system intact.  This might mean that you need to go down a half a foot or so.

3. Shake away loose dirt so you can see the bulbs.  This will make separating easier.

4.  Separate with your fingers. Don't cut the bulb roots or try to separate them with a knife.  This can damage the plant.

5. Replant the bulb immediately.  If you can't do this for some reason, store the bulbs in a cool dry place, but don't store the bulbs for more than three months.

You'll want to separate your bulbs every two to three years.  Bulbs have this habit of multiplying underground.  So if you just let them sit around, you'll have a pretty crowded garden!


  1. Great info. My bulb plants have already popped thru because it's February and oddly 50 degrees. As soon as I plant some vegetable seeds, it's going to go sub-zero, right?

    1. That's usually the way it goes! The weather has been crazy, hasn't it?

  2. I tend to get extremely neglectful of my bulbs. This is a great selection of tips!