Simplify Summer Bulb Care With an Overwintering Shortcut #LowesCreator

Caladium Summer Bulb Keeper

Summer Bulb Keeper for Easy Over-Wintering

Gorgeous summer bulbs can be a fabulous way to add color to your garden, but some of them — like gladioulus, caladiums, and dahlias — are not hardy over the winter in most areas of the United States. And, if you’re like me, it can be tough to remember to dig them up in time, or to even just feel like bothering when the cold weather is rolling in.

So here’s the trick – plant your cold-sensitive bulbs in a container like a metal basket (non-reactive of course) or plastic. We picked up a milk crate from Lowe’s for just a few dollars and used them to plant my caladiums in!

Caladiums grow from bulbs

See the bulb that caladiums grow from? They are not frost-tolerant.

Dig a large hole to set the milk crate in. If you turn the top layer upside-down into the milk crate, it will help keep all the dirt from pilling out too fast.

Dig a large hole

Dig a large hole for the milk crate.

Put more dirt into the crate (or basket if you choose) to bring the level of the plants up to the top of the milk crate.

Fill your basket with your bulbs

Fill your basket with your bulbs.

Fill in any gaps with extra soil until the milk crate is filled.

Bury the crate completely

Bury the crate completely.

We were replenishing our garden’s mulch as well (See next month’s Lowe’s Creative Inspirations post for more on that subject.) so we made sure any edges of the crate were covered over with mulch.

Caladium bulbs planted in a basket

Caladium bulbs planted in a basket

What’s left is my summer caladium bulbs in the last empty shade spot of my front border looking bright and cheerful and providing the perfect contrast to the ferns and camellias planted there.

Gorgeous shady planter

Finished shade section of the planter

In the fall, when frost kills the tender, frost-sensitive foliage, I can easily lift the entire basket, clean the bulbs up, and stick them in the laundry room for the winter. This will save me a lot of money come spring, because I’ll be able to replant all the bulbs the next year instead of having to replace them from scratch!

What are your favorite summer-blooming bulbs?

This post was written as part of the Lowes Creative Inspirations challenges, and I am compensated for the materials used to purchase the supplies shown in this tutorial. All concepts, photos and words are my original work.

Check out all the inspirational ideas by viewing the other Creative Ideas online, downloading the Lowes Creative Ideas Magazine for iPad, and following Lowes on their social media platforms – Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

About Angela England

Angela England has written 499 posts in this blog.

Founder of Untrained Housewife, Editor-in-Chief of Blissfully Domestic (, mother of five, wife of one, and God-seeker always.



  1. Amy says

    Wow, this is brilliant–although for me, I plant such a plethora of plants that I’d have to use a whole truckload of crates. That’s okay, I’m sure I can use this tip, anyway. I love the look of your website!

    • says

      I think it definitely depends on how many you are trying to plant, but you’ll notice I planted my perennials elsewhere and only used this technique for the tender, frost-sensitive bulbs.

    • says

      There are lots of summer blooming bulbs to choose from but we wanted some steady color in that shady spot by the fence and the caladiums are so colorful they contrast nicely.

  2. says

    Love this tip because I’m in the group that “just doesn’t feel like bothering with it.” I am curious to see how hard or easy it will be to get the crate back out in the fall after the dirt settles in. Have you done this before?

    • says

      Some of the roots will have grown through of course, but it shouldn’t be too tough to lift them up in the fall. For my husband, I mean. 😉

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