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Caring for Bulbs After they Bloom

Category: Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"


Daffodils from my garden, with little white Snowflakes (Leucojum)

Where I live in Dutchess County NY, daffodils are one of the few bulbs deer do not graze so gardeners are planting more varieties of daffodils to get variation in their early spring gardens.

After your bulbs are finished blooming, remove flowers so they won’t put energy into producing seeds. For naturalizing, however, leave flowers and allow reseeding. At the NY Botanical Garden, daffodils are allowed to naturalize into large drifts on a hillside.

Daffodil drifts at the New York Botanical Garden in Bronx, NY. Daffodil leaves are left to fade until mid-June before the grass is mown.

Don’t braid or fold and band the leaves as they are dying, as is sometimes recommended. It’s best for the leaves to be fully exposed to the sun. The foliage provides essential nutrients that will help the bulb recharge for next season, so don’t cut leaves back until they yellow and eventually turn brown.

Plant your bulbs in a location where the yellowing and fading leaves won’t be a distraction. I try to plant them in a garden bed where other plants will grow in and hide the fading leaves of the bulbs.

To learn more about caring for your bulbs after they bloom, click here.


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