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Disappearing bulbs

I've lived in my house for 30+years and in all that time have planted loads of bulbs. They never seemed to flower much and eventually disappeared altogether. About 3 years ago I made three raised beds for perennials and filled it with very good top soil and lots of manure, which has been added to over the seasons. I also planted approx 50 daffodils, loads of miniature iris and a couple of dozen tulips. This year I've had 2 iris, 14 daffodils and 8 tulips. Has anyone any idea why my garden won't grow bulbs? We don't have any squirrels here as there are very few large trees in the surrounding area.


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,963

    Hi lilly. Tulips can be tricky as they need to be in well drained soil and a sunny site so many people treat them as annuals and replant new stock each year. The dwarf Iris tend to be short lived and flower less each year. It's still quite early for lots of tulips and daffs so perhaps some still haven't come through yet, but if it's not that, daffs  can get congested and come up blind so it's a case of splitting them and replanting. Have you perhaps planted the bulbs too deep, or are there other plants growing very close or on top of them preventing them coming through? Or are they waterlogged? They could have rotted if that's the case. 


    Squirrels will dig up bulbs but usually it's the smaller ones as they don't dig very deep down.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,300

    I'm sure mice and voles eat my crocuses..

    Some daffs persist better than others, Jetfire, Tete a tete, February Gold, these have been with me for years. Others flowered once or twice and then just leaves. Sweetness was one of those, beautiful scent but short-lived

    I don't think tulips and bulbous irises would like the manure


    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • flowering roseflowering rose Posts: 1,632

    I have this problem because of the heavy and over wet soil of clay and pesky lily beetles .

  • ClaringtonClarington Posts: 4,949

    I fear they might be in my garden! I've found about ten bulbs this week alone that have been dug up by some thing scattered on the path to the green house.

  • lilly3lilly3 Posts: 52
    Thanks for all your advice. Not sure the mystery solved though as the soil is free draining being in raised beds, no squirrels and although we must have field mice around, they're not very obvious. The recent bulbs that have gone I only planted year before last so can't be congested yet. It's a real mystery to me especially as it's been going on for 30 years! What's so annoying is the daffs which appeared spontaneously in the hedgerow opposite my house years ago and which get no TLC are thriving and spreading nicely!
  • Tropical SamTropical Sam Posts: 1,488

    Dig the area up and count the bulbs. If it is mice then the leave teeth marks in the bits of bulb that they do not finish. They tend not to like Daffs. I wonder if you have Narcissus bulb fly larvae - they eat other bulbs as well. You can tell when a bulb has been eaten by them as the hollow it out. I think it worth digging and seeing.

  • LynLyn Posts: 22,862

    I fear the manure may be the problem, I have thousands of bulbs here, been in for more than 20 years, never fed, rubish soil, bulbs store all they need in themselves. I would also suggest digging them up and having a look, if they are not chewed, try planting them somewhere else.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • lilly3lilly3 Posts: 52
    Sorry Lynn, can't be the manure, only added it to the new beds and as I said in all the years I've lived here have never been successful with any type of bulb anywhere.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,963

    I hadn't thought of mice lilly but it does sound like it's animal more than anything really if there's no problem with soil conditions. Not sure what you can do about that - apart from getting a cat! image image

    Have you tried any in pots as an experiment to see if they fare any better? 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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