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How To Save Gladiolus Bulbs And Dahlia Tubers Until Spring
How To Save Gladiolus Bulbs And Dahlia Tubers Until Spring

Video: How To Save Gladiolus Bulbs And Dahlia Tubers Until Spring

Video: How To Save Gladiolus Bulbs And Dahlia Tubers Until Spring
Video: How I’m Digging & Storing Our Dahlias! 🌸👩‍🌾🌿// Garden Answer 2023, March

Storing gladiolus bulbs


There is no such garden, where in the second half of summer gladioli and dahlias with lush multi-colored caps-heads would not please with their lush, bright "ears". These magnificent beauties of the garden reproduce with bulbs and tubers.

However, the season ends, and in the fall the question arises before gardeners: how to preserve the planting material of gladioli and dahlias. I dig out gladioli at the end of September - beginning of October, when the steam heating is already on in the city. This is a prerequisite, otherwise the bulbs may rot during the drying process. I dig out gladioli in any weather, but I guess so that on the same day or, in extreme cases, the next, take them home.

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Having delivered the bulbs home, I immediately cleanse them of the integumentary scales, remove the old bulb and roots. After that, my onion. If there are any spots on the bulb (this is a sign of illness), then I throw it away mercilessly. Previously, I cut out such spots with a knife and saved the onion. But then I realized that next year this bulb will still get sick, and besides, it will infect other bulbs and the soil. Therefore, I leave only clean, healthy bulbs.

After washing, I keep the bulbs for 20 minutes in a pink solution of potassium permanganate and 20 minutes in Aktara's solution (according to the instructions). This is a good prophylaxis against diseases and pests, since gladioli bulbs are often affected by insects invisible to us - thrips, so disinfection of planting material is mandatory! Do not forget that when working with such drugs, you need to wear gloves and a mask on your face.

Having finished the prophylaxis, I put the onions in the halves of the candy boxes and put them in a dry place, but not by the battery. Kitchen shelves or bookshelves work best. If the house is cold (steam heating is not on yet), then the bulbs will become covered with mold and will not be stored. In about two to three weeks, they will dry - I check it by touch. It is impossible to dry longer, otherwise they will lose the moisture they need.


In an old bowl I dissolve three or four household candles (white) or paraffin, remove the threads. When the paraffin is completely dissolved, I reduce the fire, but it should not be quite small.

I dip large bulbs of gladioli half their size (for a split second) in dissolved paraffin. Then I dip the second half of the onion in paraffin. The paraffin wax should cover the entire bulb with a thin layer. After that, she looks like a shiny candy. If paraffin falls on the bulb in a thick layer, then the fire must be slightly increased. This means that the paraffin is not hot enough. In many books for gardeners, it is advised to paraffin only dahlia tubers in this way, and dissolve the paraffin in a water bath for this. But for more than twenty years I have been dissolving paraffin not in a water bath, but in a bowl, and not once have gladioli bulbs and dahlia tubers been damaged.

If the onions of gladioli are small, and you can't grab them with your hand, then I put such an onion in a teaspoon, immerse it in paraffin and quickly take it out. I remove children of gladioli immediately when digging. I do not wax them, but only rinse and disinfect them. I dry in the same way as onions.

Gladiolus bulbs must be sorted not only by size, but also by variety. I sign each grade. I put them in newspaper bags and store them in the refrigerator in the vegetable compartment or in the compartment on its door.

In the spring (at the beginning of April) I take them out, put them into halves of candy boxes and put them in a bright, but not sunny place for germination. This way of storing gladioli is very convenient because in the spring, when the gardener has too little time to clean the bulbs, this precious time is saved - I cleaned them in the fall.

Secondly, in the spring, when removing the covering scales, you can accidentally break the sprout that has already appeared, and then this year the gladiolus will not bloom.

Thirdly, during spring cleaning of the bulbs from covering scales, even a healthy person develops an allergic rhinitis, which does not happen in autumn when cleaning wet scales. Fourthly, during the autumn disinfection of the bulbs in the unremoved covering scales, pests may not die and survive, and then, in the winter, cause significant damage to the bulbs. When a bare bulb is immersed in hot paraffin, the pests die. If by chance they survived, they remain embedded in paraffin.

Dahlia tubers storage


I also wax dahlia tubers in preparation for storage. Unlike gladioli, I dig them out in sunny, dry weather. I clean well from the ground - first with a wooden stick, sharpened like a pencil, and then - I sweep away the rest of the soil with a glue brush. I divide each dug out bush into divisions - a stem with several tubers. I leave a small woody stump from the stem. It is not necessary to wash the tubers in order not to damage the protective layer.

Once the tubers were washed, and after that they did not survive. I have not observed diseases in dahlias, therefore I do not disinfect their tubers.

After cleaning for the night, I remove the tubers in a cold, dry place (in a barn) to dry out. Longer, I think, you can't dry them like that, otherwise they will wrinkle and then will be poorly stored. The next day I start to wax them. If I dig tubers out of wet soil in a rainy autumn, then I dry the land for a day or two longer, and then I paraffin it immediately.

Once I didn’t have time to wax the tubers in time, and they dried up and wrinkled a little. There is a way to restore them: you need to wrap them in a damp newspaper for several hours and keep them in this form in a cold room.

For too large and long tubers, immediately before waxing, I cut off half of the tuber from the end. This way I reduce the volume of tubers that I have to store. Do not be afraid of this: roots will grow along the edge of the cut in spring. For all tubers, I must cut off small roots and thin unripe tubers - they will dry out over the winter anyway. I cut large divisions with a knife into 2-3 pieces, depending on the size. I throw away tubers without buds. There is nothing to keep unnecessary. Previously, I cut each cut into separate tubers, but this way they were stored worse, and many fell out over the winter.

I dip part of the cut in paraffin. Since the tubers of dahlias are larger than the bulbs of gladioli, then those parts of the tubers that did not fit in the bowl during immersion and were not covered with paraffin, I pour paraffin from a teaspoon, holding them obliquely over the bowl. Then I wrap them in newspapers and store them in the refrigerator.

As a rule, varietal dahlias are more capricious, and their tubers are poorly stored in a basement or caisson. This storage method helps to keep the tubers safe and sound.

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Instead of paraffin, I tried to dip whole bushes of dahlias in a clay chatterbox. To do this, she poured water into the blue clay, kneaded each piece with her hand until a creamy mass without lumps was formed. She dipped dried tubers from a whole bush of dahlias into this mixture, and then dried them in the basement until completely dry. In this form, they dried in the cool for a long time. Do not dry them in a warm and dry place.

Then she kept it in the basement caisson. But this method did not justify itself. The tubers were poorly preserved. In this way, you can store old, not very beautiful varieties of dahlias, but they are well stored even without a clay talker.

I tried to store undivided tubers from whole dahlia bushes in plastic buckets, covering them with dry river sand. However, to store dahlias in winter, you need a stable temperature and humidity. In winter, we do not live in the country house, in the basement there are low negative temperatures, and the temperature in the caisson, although positive, but it depends on the temperature outside. Therefore, a constant temperature cannot be provided for dahlia tubers, and this method also turned out to be unsuccessful for me. Although if you constantly live in a country house, then in this case, I think this method is the most convenient, since the tubers do not need to be cut and waxed, and whole cuttings are better stored in winter.

In the spring (at the beginning of May) I plant the cuttings in large flower pots for germination, and after the twenty-fifth of May I already plant them with a lump of earth in the open ground. Thanks to this seedling method of planting, my dahlias bloom earlier. When disembarking in open ground, I drive a peg into the planting hole, immerse dahlia seedlings. After planting, I immediately tie the dahlia stems to these stakes.

Thanks to the protective layer of paraffin and the constant temperature in the refrigerator, the tubers of dahlias and gladioli keep well until spring, saving me precious time in the spring. Contrary to the mistrust of many novice growers, after planting, dahlia tubers and gladiolus bulbs normally germinate through a layer of paraffin and form a good root system.

Olga Rubtsova

gardener, candidate of geographical sciences

Vsevolozhsky district of the Leningrad region

Photo by the author

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