Tag Archives: corms, rhizomes and tubers

How to Split Bulbs – A Beginner’s Guide

corms, rhizomes and tubers

Nothing says springtime quite like spring’s favorite flowers- daffodils, tulips and lilies. These beautiful flowers are a great way to liven up any garden and bring some beautiful and vibrant blooms to your garden. All of three of these spring favorites are bulbs. Bulbs are a great choice for the novice gardener because they are easy to grow and they multiply quickly.

Bulbs automatically divide and regenerate. This means that you can easily double or triple your supply of bulbs in just a couple of years. If you are growing bulbs in your garden they will need to be split every two to three years to keep your flowers looking their best. In fact, the blooms will even help you remember when it is time to divide the bulbs. If you notice that your blooms aren’t as abundant in the spring, you will know that it is time to divide your bulbs come fall.

Wait to divide your bulbs until the early fall. Wait to divide your bulbs when the flowers have died and the green foliage starts to wither and die. Cut back any remaining greenery and wait about a week. Then carefully dig around the bulbs. If you use a large shovel it is very easy to accidentally cut or slice the bulbs with the shovel blade. Instead, use a hand shovel or trowel to gently loosen the dirt around the bulbs until they can be easily removed. You will find that the single bulb you planted will now be a large clump of several bulbs.

Dividing is actually very easy. All you have to do is pull apart the bulb clump to create smaller individual bulbs. These bulbs are now ready to plant again. Simply place them individually in small hole with the point of the bulb facing up and root portion down. Cover the bulb with soil. They should be ready to grow and bloom again come spring.

Many people confuse bulbs with other types of blooming plants including those that grow from corms, rhizomes and tubers. While these can all be divided, the process is a little different than when dividing a true bulb.

Corms, like the crocus, look a lot like bulbs, but act a little differently. You can still separate these using a similar process to bulbs by pulling apart the new sections and replanting. Tubers, like dahlias and begonias, need to be cut into pieces. Clean the tuber off with fresh water and cut into sections. Each section will need at least one eye, or growing point, if you want them to take root. Finally rhizomes, like iris will have natural breaking points where you can simply divide the rhizome into pieces and replant.

Bulbs are a great way to add color and beauty into your spring and summer gardens easily. Remember watch in the spring and when your blooms start to look a little sparse, it is time to divide in the fall. Always divide your bulbs in the fall to ensure that you don’t miss out on any beautiful blooms and that your bulbs have plenty of time to establish themselves before the cold winter strikes.

Gabriel Meriwether is a writer for Brookside Patio Furniture which specializes in wicker patio furniture.