by Amanda

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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!

  1. Red Hunter Tulip or Wisley Tulip, Tulipa linifolia (Batalinii Group) 'Red Hunter'

    Red Hunter Tulip, also called Wisley Tulip, features brilliant red flowers around a black center. Starting Tulip season with a pop of color and blooming longer than most species tuli...

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    Red Hunter Tulip Red Hunter Tulip or Wisley Tulip Tulipa linifolia (Batalinii Group) 'Red Hunter'
    As low as $13.99 Sale $10.49
    Per Bag of 15
    Red Hunter Tulip, also called Wisley Tulip, features brilliant red flowers around a black center. Starting Tulip season with a pop of color and blooming longer than most species tulips, its mid-to-late spring flowers are surrounded by narrow, upright, silver-green leaves. Plant at the front of the garden or in containers, where the scarlet flowers and attractive foliage will catch your eye. Winner of the RHS Award of Garden of Merit. (Tulipa linifolia Batalinii Group)
  2. Apricot Impression Darwin Tulip, Tulipa Apricot Impression

    Graduated pink and tangerine blooms top a stately 22-inch stem in ‚Apricot Impression‚ Darwin Tulip, creating a glowing effect in beds and borders. These large, softly ra...

    Learn More
    Apricot Impression Darwin Tulip Apricot Impression Darwin Tulip Tulipa Apricot Impression
    As low as $11.99 Sale $8.99
    Per Bag of 10
    Graduated pink and tangerine blooms top a stately 22-inch stem in 'Apricot Impression' Darwin Tulip, creating a glowing effect in beds and borders. These large, softly radiant blooms are held on slender but strong stems in mid-spring. Like many Darwin tulips, 'Apricot Impression' has a long-lasting bloom season, allowing the gardener to get the most from the planting, and making a great choice for the cut flower garden! (Tulipa)
  3. Peppermint Stick Tulip, Tulipa clusiana Peppermint Stick

    Treasured for its dual-toned blooms and a tendency to return year after year, ‚Peppermint Stick‚ Tulip is a low-growing species tulip with plenty of punch in a petite fra...

    Learn More
    Peppermint Stick Tulip Peppermint Stick Tulip Tulipa clusiana Peppermint Stick
    As low as $13.32 Sale $9.99
    Per Bag of 15
    Treasured for its dual-toned blooms and a tendency to return year after year, 'Peppermint Stick' Tulip is a low-growing species tulip with plenty of punch in a petite frame. In mid-spring, the delicately pointed blooms reveal pure white centers flanked by outer petals with a red-pink reverse. 'Peppermint Stick' is an RHS Award of Garden Merit winner and naturalizes in a well-drained, sunny spot. (Tulipa clusiana)
  4. Dark Blue Specie Iris, Iris reticulata Dark Blue

    This dazzling-blue Iris is often the first sign of spring, popping up in the early months and blooming quickly, growing to be only 4-6” tall. This Specie Iris is perfect for a ...

    Learn More
    Dark Blue Specie Iris Dark Blue Specie Iris Iris reticulata Dark Blue
    As low as $9.99 Sale $7.49
    Per Bag of 25
    This dazzling-blue Iris is often the first sign of spring, popping up in the early months and blooming quickly, growing to be only 4-6” tall. This Specie Iris is perfect for a border garden and is lovely planted in clumps, returning year after year. (Iris reticulata)
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