Storing tender perennial bulbs

Some of the most beautiful plants grow in warm climates. But that doesn’t mean a Colorado garden can’t share in the glory.

While you are harvesting your vegetables in early fall, don’t forget to grab the container plants to ready for overwintering.

Shade loving container. Left sweet potato vine, center Caladium, back Coleus.

Storing bare roots of plants is a long tradition of garden nurseries, and the edible harvest. Below are ornamental plants whose roots you store in a cool area for winter.

Early Fall 65 degrees


Caladium grow from tubers. They are perennial in zone 10 but must be lifted in fall in zones 3-8. When fall temps are predicted to drop below 65 bring them inside. You can over winter the caladium but for best showing, give them a rest in winter. Pull up the tubers, remove the leaves, and allow them to dry. To store caladiums keep in a dry area at a temp between 55 and 60 degrees. Putting them in sawdust or peat moss can keep them from being dessicated in our Colorado dry winter homes.

A relative of the Caladium, Elephant ears can be stored in the same fashion.

Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine

The sweet potato vine (Ipomeoea batatas) tuber can also be pulled up in fall. They should be stored in a dry medium like sawdust or peat moss. Division is achieved by cutting the tubers into multiple ‘eyes’ and planting each once the soil warms up to at least 65 degrees. Check out North Carolina Extension’s Cultivar list.

Before the first frost


With Dahlias you want to pull up both the tuber and a good portion of their roots. Rinse off the roots, cut out any areas of rot you find, and place them in an area to dry. This may take a few weeks until the tubers are darker and the outside resembles a baked potato. Put in a paper bag to overwinter in a dry peat moss. Be sure to check the tubers now and again to ensure no rot is occuring.

Look for your favorite tuber.

Want to find this goodie?

Here are other tubers that are great for eating. There are carrots or perhaps Johnny’s potatoes in a sack.

Potatoes are a tuber that can be grown in containers. Depending on the variety they also store well.

An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.