What to do After Flowering?

What do you need to do look after the plants when they have finished flowering? If you want them to come up the following spring, looking just as full and healthy as they did the first year, just keep in mind the following points:

  1. Never cut down the leaves. After the flower is finished blooming, all the food that was stored in the bulb is exhausted. It is through the leaves that food is send down to the bulb to replenish it, so that it can grow more flowers for next spring. If you cut back leaves too soon after the bulbs have bloomed, you'll reduce the number of flowers in coming years.
  2. Fertilize plants immediately after their flowering ends. Apply a complete fertilizer, containing nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium to the soil where the bulbs have been planted (around the base of the leaves).
  3. Allow the bulbs to dry out (just quit watering) after the foliage begins to turn yellow. Most spring bulbs prefer dry soil during summer.
  4. Dig, divide and replant the bulbs when crowded (usually every three or four years). Do this if the blooms are getting small. Small blossoms indicate that the bulb doesn't have room to grow and get large.
  5. Apply a light application of a high-nitrogen fertilizer just as the bulbs begin to grow in spring .
Tip: If post-bloom foliage is unsightly, gently pull the leaves together in a bunch; tie the leaves in a knot so they can be hidden under other plants.

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Last modified: October 8, 2007