When digging up tulip bulbs, to divide them:
(1) How do you avoid damaging the bulbs? I can't think of any way to
prevent goung some bulbs, except to have them in soil so friable (such
as Miracle Gro potting soil) that you could just lift them out and not
use a spade.
(2) When you have damaged a bulb, how much damage is "okay"? How
much can get lopped of, and the thing will probably grow next spring
Get underneath them with a fork first. Wiggle the fork to loosen the soil,
then lift gently. Unless you're planting in cement, that should give a
result that'll allow you to feel around in the soil with your bare hands and
extract the bulbs without hurting them.
A lot of the bulbs I plant are dwarfs & miniatures, so they go to the
front of gardens, sometimes near sidewalk edges or atop stone or brick
walls at the front of raised beds. For these I've found I can put a flat
spade right up against the concrete or bricks, where there's no chance at
all of slicing through any bulbs, then jiggle the hell out of the soil,
loosening it all up. I can then literally poke my hands right into the
soil & find the bulbs one by one without further shoveling, so nothing
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
I don't have tulips, but I have a lot of daffodils. When I dig them up
to divide them I just use a fork and don't worry about gouging some. I
always end up with far more undamaged bulbs than I started with, and
usually have to give some away. I don't keep any that show a wound,
although I suspect some of them would survive.
Ted Shoemaker wrote:
SPAMBLOCK NOTICE! To reply to me, delete the h from apkh.net, if it is
As long as there is part of the basal plate attached to the piece, it should
Of course, the larger the part of the plate, the more likely it will grow and
The basal plate is the flat part at the bottom of the bulb where the roots will
I let any cut pieces dry out for a day or so and callous over before
I did them up all the time by accident, - also when I go to pull the dead
foliage off in early June, often the entire bulb comes up with the leaf. I
just stick them back in the dirt and they have expanded like crazy in my
garden, where, apparently, they are not only perennial but invasive....LOL
Incidentally, although I'm in a cold climate, I have found that they will
grow perfectly well if planted anywhere from 1 to 5 inches deep.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.