Gardening 101

How to Divide Your Flower Bulbs


There are a few general rules of thumb to help you decide if it’s time to divide your flower bulbs.

If the plants are getting smaller and more plentiful, or if blooms are declining, it’s time to dig the whole clump up, divide them, and replant in good soil.

It is best to divide bulbs after they have bloomed and the leaves have dried down. This allows for maximum food storage in the bulb for next year’s growth. Cut off yellowed leaves near the ground rather than pulling them off. Very dry leaves will detach easily.

Either separate and plant the divided bulbs, or let them dry, shake the soil off and store them in cool, dry conditions. Get rid of moldy bulbs or ones that are too small.

Tender bulbs must be removed from the ground after the first hard frost. Dig the bulbs and wash off the soil. Let them dry thoroughly and then store in a dry peat mix until spring in a cool (not freezing) location.

Fall-blooming Crinums may only need to be divided every 4-5 years, and others like the Surprise Lily may go 8 years or more before being too crowded.

Featured photo – Jeana Meyers

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