The bulb bed in my front yard has to go to make way for some new
hardscaping. The crocus and tulips have all died back and were dug, but I
still have a patch of poeticus narcissus that are still green, they are the
latest to bloom and the last to die down.
I have to have the bulbs out by this weekend. The area I was planning to
move them to will not be ready anytime soon due to the work going on in the
yard. Should I even try to save the bulbs, or should I break down and spend
a few bucks this fall to replace them? And if I try to save them, how
should I treat them until I plant them?
USDA Zone 5 (Southeast Nebraska)
Once on a trip to England, I saw how the gardeners handled this at the
'Stately Homes'. The Lord and Lady of the Manor were much too refined to
have look at the spring bulbs getting yellow and tatty so the gardeners
whisked them off - after the blooming was over - and re-planted them in
fresh dug rows behind the greenhouses so they would be out of sight and
yet still be able to finish their cycle.
They did not want to throw them out and get replacements the next year
as these bulbs had 'been on the estate for a hundred years'. Plus they
get bigger and multiply.
I would imagine you could pot these up, keeping as much dirt and root as
possible around the roots. Or if you had the space, dig a row and 'heel
them in' like the 'Stately' gardeners do.
Just put them in a big pot and pay close attention to that pot. Don't let it
roast in the sun. After the green dies down, you can either leave the bulbs
in the pot (IF you don't let it get roasted or waterlogged), or take the
bulbs out, dry them, and store them someplace where the temp is moderate and
there's good air circulation. Just like onions, in other words. Then, plant
them again in the fall.
The general rule of thumb is that the foliage should remain 6 weeks after
the flower has faded. If you are on the verge of that amount of time, even
if the stalk is still green, your narcissus have probably made enough food
to plump up the bulbs enough to bloom next year, even if you're unable to
save the foliage.
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