MINNEAPOLIS - Many people love to have callas, cannas, dahlia's in bloom all summer but in the winter these "tender bulbs" need a little extra care.

Here is how you over-winter them.

Wait till fall and after a couple hard freezes so that the tops have browned completely, then whack them off just above the ground.

Using a shovel, pop the bulb out of the ground. By shaking, rolling, cutting and washing, get 99 percent of the soil off.

Duane Otto from the arboretum said just to let them dry out and not to wash them. He thinks that promotes them to rot if they are wet.

If there are any aged or shriveled looking parts, cut them off and discard them. Place in a cardboard box, both nesting and covering the bulb with looselycrumpled newspaper.

Keep in a cool, dark, but not freezing place between 40 and 60 degrees Farenheit. A 55 degree basement or garage is ideal.

Check them a couple times over the winter. If bulbs appear to be shriveling from dryness, drop them in cool water for a couple minutes, pat dry and return them to storage. If there is any sign of mold, repeat the bleach solution, then pat dry and re-store.

At a frost-free date (usually mid-April to mid-May, depending on your area), plant the bulbs setting their highest point a couple inches below the surface. Adding compost and a slow release fertilizer to the backfill soil will help them grow bigger, faster and better.

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