from the forum: when to move flower bulbs

THIS SUBJECT ALWAYS RATTLES ME A BIT: When to move flower bulbs that you want to relocate, or divide? There are proponents of the “in the green” tactic, meaning to move them when they have their foliage on, and others who say no, no, never–do it once they ripen, or even in fall. The subject was raised again, this time in the Urgent Garden Question Forum by member ITry, and I wonder what you think, and do? Won’t you come over and tell us your approach?

  1. Stephanie says:

    My question is what do to with bulbs (tulips, daffodils) that don’t flower… in fact, don’t even put up a flower stalk. All the bulbs in my cutting garden flowered last year (which was their first year) but this spring, there are a few that haven’t. Should I just pull them out or is there a chance they’ll come through next year? And I love your quirky ramblings and all the info on your website! I’ve been gardening for a number of years, and am glad to have found another source of inspration for my zone 4 space in Nova Scotia.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Stephanie, and thanks for the kind words. The question of non-blooming flower bulbs and what to do is addressed on the Flower-Bulb FAQ’s page here. Not sure what kind of bulbs you mean, so it can vary a little (some fuss over slightly different things) but generally the info is there. I am glad to have you join us, and holler any time, here or on the Forum.

  2. Diana says:

    I try to move bulbs when they’re dormant, usually in the fall for spring blooming bulbs and in the summer after all the leaves have died for fall blooming crocus and colchicum. I have had to move some bulb when still growing and just make sure I have a large clump with soil.

  3. Lisa says:

    Hmm… I’ve got some asiatic lilies that I want to relocate. In my northern Minnesota garden the green shoots are a few inches up – anyone have advice on whether I should move them now, later, or only when dormant?

  4. kim says:

    @Lisa, if the lilies are truly only a few inches, less than six say, high, you can safely relocate them by taking a lot of the surrounding soil with them – go deep too and all could be well. If they are taller than six inches, play it safe and move them in the fall.
    Hope this helps!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Kim. I always miss that moment and they shoot up and then it’s SO hard to keep them intact. Why is spring so urgent-chore-filled? :) See you soon.

  5. Mb says:

    I have some daffodils that ended up under an evergreen shrub as it grew and don’t get any sun…can I move them now since they don’t bloom anyway (maybe 1 flower each yr.) or wait until my other daffodils are done blooming and then move?

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, MB. You can move them “in the green” (when they are up and have foliage) but be careful not to disturb it as they need it to nourish themselves this season. Which is why some people move them after that point, when it’s easier (without the leaves on). But you can see where they are now clearly so I’d say yes, go ahead.

  6. Annie says:

    I have to move cross country in a couple of weeks and my glads are in full bloom. Is there any way to move them or should I just leave them for the next tenant? I also have some yellow asiatic lilies that are in their prime as well. Is there any way to take them with me?

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Annie. They are just too unwieldy to move intact. Small things you can sometimes dig and pot up and get somewhere in one piece, but if they lose their foliage the bulbs won’t be nourished for next year, so what would the point of digging/moving be?

  7. Kate says:

    I am going to be introducing a large amount of new perennials into my garden in the next few weeks and I am thinking of regrouping my tulips to work with and around the new plants. I am in zone 5/6 and all of my tulips and daffodils are all close to losing their blooms or have spent already. Is it possible to move my spring bulbs around before the leaves have died in order to make room for the new plants?

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