Flowering Spring blubs-proper care after they bloom

I always love the first signs of spring when my bulbs start to add color to the garden.  But they do require a little maintenance to get a true return on your investment and supply years of color in your garden.  One of the visual problems with spring bulbs is the foliage that remains after they bloom. The foliage can become unsightly if the bulbs are planted in the front of your home.  One thing you don’t want to do is CUT the foliage.

 

Quick Tips

  • Remove the flower heads on tulips and daffodils as soon as the flowers fade. This means only the flower stem and not the foliage.  This prevents unwanted seed and pod development which could reduce flower production in following years. 
  •  You can remove the flower stem as far down as you’d like until you start hitting leaves. The foliage can than be rolled to the base and secured with part of the foliage, organic cotton, or twine.  You can also bury the bunch under mulch if you like.
  • The leaves should remain on, until they have browned…. this allows the plant to  store energy for blooming again next year.  This can take several weeks.
  • Premature removal of plant foliage stops bulb growth and may drastically cut flower numbers next spring.
  • Fertilizer (5-10-5 or 6-10-4 ) is key and should be applied immediately after blooming.  Wash off any fertilizer which may remain on the foliage to prevent it from burning the leaves. 

If you live in the New England area, deer love tulips and will often munch  your flowers and there is not a lot you can do about it.   Squirrels also love to move or remove your bulbs and often times you will find them blooming in a new location next year.  However all things considered,  bulbs are worth all the trouble!

 

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