I know I should let the foliage die down following flowering but should I remove the stem when petals have dropped off as they look unsightly. Any advice as to what I can plant in the meantime as the tulips are in a box hedge partare. Thanks
Hi Helga, yes you can snip the flower stems off. What sort of tulips are they? Most of the 'fancy' types do not usually come back well in the second year and many gardeners treat them as annuals, digging them up after flowering so they can plant summer bedding plants etc. I leave them in but have lots of hardy perennials in my beds which are now starting to grow and will cover the dying tulip foliage. If you do leave them in, it's important to remove the leaves once those die as they carry a virus called 'tulip fire' which will otherwise very likely affect the tulips badly next year.
Thanks Bob. They are white purissima This is the second year of flowering-an amazing display. I planted very deep as advised. Didn't know about the tulip fire so thanks for the tip. Think I 'm going to try bedding. Happy gardening.
Helga I believe that you have to look to your soil for the answer on what to do. I have tulips in free draining soil and raised beds, and every year they get better and better, and more numerous - they've been growing for years, and I don't think I've lost any of them - just added to them every autumn. All I do is nip off the seed heads when they are over. But this is probably the optimum situation for tulips, so if you are not in raised beds, or have clay soil, then you have to do trial and error. I have to say I am probably too lazy to dig them all up and re-plant in autumn, so I am grateful that they do what they do. I think you should grow things that come out in June and dominate the dying foliage of the tulips. What works for me is delphiniums and oriental poppies, and native cranesbill geraniums, and alliums take over quite nicely, so that the firework display continues
Thanks Busy Bee2 I am going to leave them in this year. Great suggestions-grateful of gardeners experience on this forum.