is bulb cold storage necessary for rebloom?

lilyplanter1February 10, 2009

Hi, I live in coastal Southern California (San Diego) and I believe our zone here is 9 or 10. Is it absolutely necessary for me to dig up my potted bulbs and store them in the fridge to get them to rebloom in the spring?

We have pretty mild and short winters here. Usually doesn't go below 45F, and it only reaches that low at night.

I've been kind of lazy about it and haven't dealt with them since October when the stalks started to dry up. I'm not sure if it's too late to do anything about it now.

If I do need to dig them up, what's the best way to store them and for how long? I read somewhere that storing them in moist peat moss in well ventilated bags would work, but I haven't been able to verify the source.

Thanks in advance.

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gardengal48

Summer blooming bulbs like lilies do not require 'cold storage' - leaving them in the garden overwinter even in warm climates is fine. In fact, most summer blooming bulbs tend to originate from warm, some from even subtropical, areas and often need to be dug and stored over winter in colder climates. It's too cold in niwter for them to remain in the ground in colder zones. OTOH, most spring blooming bulbs DO need a winter chill period and can remain in the ground in cold climates but need to be dug and chilled before replanting in warm climates like zones 9 or 10.

If you are talking about lilies, you're fine. If you are referring to other types of bulbs, we need to know the specific types.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 9:49AM
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lilyplanter1

I'm talking about lilies, stargazer and casablanca in particular. I guess you just saved me a lot of trouble. thanks for the info.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 3:18PM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

Most, not all lilies need a period of vernilization (cold) to grow and bloom well. For many lilies this is 6-8 weeks of 35 degree weather.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 3:47PM
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lilyplanter1

I actually followed up with the company I bought the bulbs from (Holland Bulb Farms) and they said the same thing, lily bulbs do need a period of cold.

However, they suggested I dig up the bulbs, let them dry out for a week, and then store them in a paper bag. The idea is to keep them dry so they don't rot.

I had read that I should store them in moist peat moss.

Anyone have an idea which way is better?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 10:22PM
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flora2b(z6a bc)

Yikes,
DO NOT, dig, dry out for week, or store in paper bag.....this treatment is for spring bulbs like tulips, daffs, etc.
Yes, the genus lilium for the most part needs some cold, not clear on how much cold you get....you may get enough, but lilies NEVER go dormant, so drying & storing, will just mean you will weaken the bulbs and likely have to replace them.
If you want to give them a cold treatment.....dig them, place in baggies of slighted moistened peat moss (they are extremely susceptible to rot), I usually just mist the peat moss. Then, place in fridge, you do not want them to freeze....just cold, for about 4 weeks, then check for gray mold (rot) on bulbs, treat with bulb dust if necessary, and replant.
My bulbs stay in year round here, and I get the honor of digging the other summer bulbs like dahlias, glads and eucomis.
Good Luck
P.S. If you have a garden club in your area, ask if they have to use cold treatment on the 'lilium' bulbs to get bloom.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 12:20AM
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lilyplanter1

Eh, what's done is done.

So I decided to take care of the lily bulbs this past Sunday and this is what I did.

I dug up the bulbs and trimmed down the roots to 3-4 inches since they were pretty long and unwieldy (a stupid thing to do, but I didn't know lilies never go dormant).

I used one of the lower cabinets out of my fridge, lined it with a plastic bag and stored the bulbs in there along with the original soil they were planted in. I didn't have any peat moss, so I assumed that if the bulbs were doing fine in the soil before, it wouldn't be any different in the fridge.

I hope my bulbs will survive rot free for the next 4 weeks.

In any case, if anything above sound egregiously wrong, please let me know.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 7:27PM
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flora2b(z6a bc)

What you did sounds good to me. Cutting the roots back will not hurt them, it is only if you left them out to dry. Soil will work as good as peat moss....just be careful not to keep too wet.

Happy gardening.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 8:12PM
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