How to dig up tulips from containers and store them

Last fall after a suggestion from my neighbour, I decided to plant tulips bulbs in planters that I used for my summer plants. I found some on sale at Home Depot. My thought was that my tulips would bloom in the spring and then I would dig them up and use the planters for summer. What I didn’t realize was that you have to wait until all the leaves wither before digging them up. This takes FOREVER! But I did want to salvage the bulbs for next year so I did some research on how to store them.

There is conflicting information – one website says to line a tray with newspaper and store while another says to store them in sand. You’d think the easier of the option would be to do the newspaper but somehow I have sand and no newspaper in my house- hahaha.

**NOTE: I am not a gardening expert at all. This is what I did and I’m crossing my fingers it works out!


  • Sand
  • A container to fit the number of bulbs you have


  • A trowel


  1. Wait until your tulip leaves with and look like this.
  1. Since the bulbs are decently close together, using a trowel, dig around the edge of the planter to loosen up the soil. This prevents you from damaging the bulbs.
  1. Once the soil is loosened up, use your hands to dig up each bulb.
  1. For each bulb, shake off the excess dirt around the roots.
  1. On some of them, you’ll notice these little bulbs that grow from the main bulb. I’ve learned that these suck the energy from the main bulb and could cause the main bulb not to bloom again. These should be removed.
  1. Cut off the top stem of each bulb.
  1. Gather all your bulbs so that they are ready for storing.
  1. Find an old container (or a few!) that you’ll use for storing the bulbs. I actually found the ones I used on the side of the road – someone was giving away Tupperware!
  1. Using play sand (I got mine at Home Depot), fill the containers about 1/3 of the way.
  1. Place the bulbs in the sand ensuring that they don’t touch.
  1. Once all the bulbs are placed, sprinkle a little more sand on top. There should be a little of the bulbs still showing.
  1. Store in a dark, cool place until you’re ready to plant again in the fall!
I’m storing mine under my stairs with my Christmas decorations!

Now I just cross my fingers and hope that they will come up again next spring!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: