How to move tulips and other bulbs

Asked May 28, 2019, 11:22 AM EDT

I had a garden bed that I transitioned to lawn late last fall. I had a few crocuses, tulips, and daffodils in the old bed, but I couldn't find them last fall to move them. So this spring they grew and bloomed in the new grassy lawn area. They are all done blooming now, but are still green. So now I'd like to know how do I move them? Do i need to wait until they die back in the summer, or can i safely move them now? I am most concerned about the tulips because they are a cultivar I really enjoy. The tulips also appear to have multiplied and might benefit from being split. I should also say I have never transplanted or split bulbs before, so detailed instructions would be helpful.

Washtenaw County Michigan transplanting bulbs

1 Response

Hello. Yes, you can move them! Your biggest challenge is to keep the leaves and stems attached to the bulb. It will be important to dig carefully around the bulbs until you find the bottom of the bulb. If these have been in the spot for a long time it may be deeper than what you might expect. Carefully remove the bulbs keeping everything intact. Once out of the soil the baby bulbs can be broken off from the parent and planted separately. All bulbs should be replanted at the depth you found them and the leaves be allowed to turn yellow before removing them. The reason for keeping everything attached is that the leaves feed the bulb for next year’s flower. If one breaks plant it anyway, it will just take a couple years to get the vigor to produce a flower.