So you nabbed some tulip bulbs from Oakbrook Center, now what? Should you plant them or do you have to store them? I’ve heard theories about drying them out but I was curious as to why and how so I called Hinsdale Nurseries. They were so nice and explained it to me!
If you plant tulip bulbs right now the animals are much more likely to dig them up and eat them. I guess the freshly dug dirt attracts the animals and the roots won’t be established, making it really easy to take and eat. So you should definitely wait until the fall.
First, lay the tulips out to dry. Do not cut off the stem or leaves- letting the plant die back naturally allows the nutrients to go back into the bulb. You can lay them out in your garage or basement. It’s best if you line them up without touching so the air can circulate around each one. Once the green part dies back and turns yellow, you can take it off and store the bulbs.
The best way to store tulip bulbs is in brown paper bags. Mix the bulbs with wood chips or wood shavings to absorb any moisture that could get into the bag. (If the moisture remains, the bulbs will rot and be worthless.) Place the paper bags in your basement or another dark, cool place until you are ready to plant before the ground freezes in the fall.