We are nearing the time of year when spring is a big deal and we are anxious to bring spring into our homes. The best way to accomplish this ordeal is by purchasing potted tulips, hyacinths, daffodils or a combination of them planted into a single container. The normal time for these bulbs to come into bloom outside would be in April and May but through the magic of “forcing”, your local greenhouse can attain blossoming way ahead of schedule.
Bulb plants allowed to grow and bloom naturally outside through the winter-to-spring season tend to last a lot longer due to the very cool, even cold night-time temperatures whereas in your house the temperatures do not cool down at night therefore your blooms only last five to seven days tops. Now I know what you are thinking, “Oh well, at least later, when the weather warms up, I can plant these bulbs outside.” Unfortunately most of the people in the world are wrong about this, or at least about the timing of when to plant these bulbs outside.
The bulb pots that you are buying during the winter months as well as the bulbs that are going to bloom in your yard this spring were all planted last fall in October or November. So why now do you think that it would be proper to plant these used up bulbs in your garden as soon as it warms up? No, you must allow the foliage to slowly die back until spring and then place these pots of bulbs into storage until October, then plant them outside.
What about the bulbs that were in the ground and were allowed to bloom naturally in your yard during the spring season? The correct way to treat those bulbs is to remove the spent blossoms and allow the foliage to continue on until it turns yellow. Then those bulbs should be dug up and stored until the fall season, at which time they are replanted into the ground. I know that this sounds like a lot of work, but it is not really that bad. For example, I find that the foliage takes too long to “yellow” and that the bulbs get in the way of planting spring and summer annuals. So what I do is to simply dig them up and either lay the whole group up close to the house or to place them into my vegetable garden where I allow them to turn yellow and to completely dry-out. Then in late May or early June, I label them and place them in cardboard boxes and store them in either the basement or the garage.