If you dig up and store the bulbs of tulips and hyacinths now and replant them in the autumn, they will be encouraged to flower again, you will save money and you will feel accomplished! Worth giving it a go?

Store the bulbs and build up a hyacinth plantation

Those beautiful forced hyacinths you had inside at Christmas can be planted out in the garden. Year by year, you will build up quite a display. Their scent will be just as bewitching although the flower spikes will probably be slightly smaller. They may need a year to recover from being forced.

Blue hyacinths at Ventnor Botanic Garden. Choosing plants - naturalised hyacinths. Store the bulbs

"Hyacinths at Ventnor Botanic Garden" by Editor5807 is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported licence

And tulips

Most tulips won’t flower after their first year if you leave them in the ground. So, if you loved your tulips this year lift them carefully, dry them and store them.

Tulips. Store the bulbs

Tulips. © Robyn Jay and reused under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

What to do – earlier in the year

Remove the dead flowers to focus the plant’s energy on bulking up the bulb rather than producing seed.

Allow the foliage to die down naturally. Don’t tie or knot the leaves up as this prevents air from circulating and can start fungal rot. Keep watering and feeding until the leaves look and feel like straw. This usually takes about six weeks. (If you have to lift the plants earlier than this – to use a pot again, for example – put them in trays until the foliage has died down.)

What to do – now

Now it’s time to lift the bulbs carefully and get them ready for storage.

Cut off any remaining leaves, clean off the soil, trim back the roots and remove any outer loose, flaking layers from the bulb. Keep good sized, healthy bulbs (looking like ones you might buy) but throw away any which are damaged or diseased as these will get worse in storage and affect others.

Put the bulbs in open trays and place somewhere to dry off thoroughly. This will help prevent fungal rot developing in storage. A greenhouse, conservatory or sunny window ledge are all good places.

When they are completely dry, store the bulbs in labelled shallow trays, paper (not plastic) bags or nets in a warm, dark, well-ventilated place at 18-20°C (65-68°F), before replanting in the autumn.

Plant hyacinths in September in your less important beds and containers as they won't flower quite as well as when the bulbs were forced. Plant tulips in November.

Have a look at this Gardeners' World video about lifting and storing tulip bulbs.

Good luck if you decide to store the bulbs. You'll be in good company with gardeners across the world.