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USDA Hardiness Planting Zones

To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold-hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.

  • If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
  • If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).

Caring for Fading Spring Blooms

With the gorgeous display of Spring-Blooming Bulbs either in full swing or on its way in much of the country, our customers are asking “How do I care for my bulbs once they are done blooming?” We are here to help with instructions on how (and why) to care for your precious bulbs once they have finished blooming for the spring.

Once Tulips have faded, “dead-head” them by clipping off the faded blooms so that they won’t go to seed. Daffodils do not require dead-heading and can be left as is. The main requirement for bulb flowers in the post-bloom period is to leave the leaves alone so the plant can put its energy into “recharging” its bulb for next spring’s performance.

Fall-Planted Bulbs


This “energy charge” is gained through photosynthesis as the plant uses the sun’s energy to turn basic elements such as oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium into food. This food is stored in the bulb’s “scales,” the white fleshy part of the bulb, for use next spring.

It's necessary to leave the green foliage exposed to the sun until it turns brown, or six weeks after the flower has finished blooming. Fight the urge to trim back or constrain the leaves during their die-back phase after blooming. Don’t bunch, tie, braid or cut the plant's leaves during this period. Dealing with the fading foliage is basically one of those things that lovers of bulbs must deal with. The only management tip is camouflage.

Try planting Fall-Planted Bulbs with annual wildflowers or perennial plants, or planting them strategically nearby so that they help hide the declining bulb foliage as best as possible. As a planting strategy, plant clumps of Bulbs instead of full beds. This way you will have a lovely spring show, and plenty of room to plant camouflaging companions.

duthc master daffodil
Daffodils in bloom.
allium with butterfly
A butterfly visits an Allium.
Iris are a great choice for moist soils.

Avoid fertilizing your plants in the same bed until the bulbs have died back. Bulbs in spring, if fertilized at all, should only get a dose of fast-release nitrogen about six weeks before flowering (normally bulbs want low nitrogen mix, but in spring it is the green-encouraging nitrogen that is called for). Fertilizing bulbs too close to flowering time, when the bulbs can’t metabolize the food, only encourages fusarium disease and other nasty things that can harm your bulbs.

Hyacinths
Colorful Hyacinth in bloom.
Tulips and Daffodils
Tulips and Daffodils pair nicely in the garden.

What are some helpful tips that you have for caring for fading Fall Bulbs? Feel free to leave a comment below or post on our Facebook Page.

Happy Gardening!

3 thoughts on “Caring for Fading Spring Blooms”

  • jean kimble

    Many of my bulbs (tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths) are in the wrong places and need to be transplanted. When and how is the best way to do this w/o losing them after die back? Even if I mark the general spots, I won't be able to find many of them because they are planted randomly.

    Reply
  • SUE HOGAN

    I HAVE ALREADY CUT MY DAFFODILS BACK AND MOST WERE STILL GREEN. SHOULD I TRY FEEDING THEM OR SOMETHING FOR NEXT YEAR? I ONLY CUT THEM BACK ABOUT HALF WAY. HOPE THAT WILL HELP.

    Reply
    • Mike Lizotte

      Hello Sue,

      Ideally you want to keep the greens as long as possible before cutting back. The greens will continue to feed the bulb below, allowing it to dormant and hopefully come back the following season with nice blooms once again.

      Thanks!
      Mike

      Reply
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