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Spring Bulbs

Hi Everyone I'm a complete novice so if I'm asking a stupid question, sorry. I planted lots if bulbs and miraculously some have sprouted and are trying to flower. My question is after they have flowered what do you do with them ? I have a feeling that if I leave them they will come back next year (?) but do I chop off all the leaves, right back to soil level or just let them rot away, or something else altogether. I'm sure this is a really basic question but everyone assumes you know what to do next. All Advice is really appreciated. Thanks Emma


  • discodavediscodave Posts: 510

    I am not 100% sure on this but mostly will depend on the bulb/flower. I know that most of them take thier nutrients through the leaves and convert to food and store in the bulb for next year so leaving them is a good idea but then it can differ depending on the bulb.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,352

    Let the leaves die back naturally Emma. Some people take the dead flower heads off to stop them wasting energy making seeds but I don't. 


    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,249

    You should never cut back the leaves of ANY bulb after flowering, at least not until the leaves have truned brown and dried up. They make food to feed the bulb so you get flowers next year. Even the dying leaves have a function, in that sugars in them a taken back into the roots as they die. You should not tie them in bundles as some folks do either. Leave them alone!

    You may even find it useful to feed the bulbs after flowering too. I use a foliage type feed sprayed on to the leaves. If the bulbs are in posts and you need to use the pots then you may carefully remove the bulbs and soil and put it somewhere out of the way in the garden to die down naturally.

    By the way, the only silly question is the one you did not ask when you could have done!

  • Emma 6Emma 6 Posts: 2
    This is great - thank you ! I deff won't be cutting them back. The bulbs were a mix bag and I think the only types that have come up are crocuses and the little daffs - narcissus is it ?

    Great advice, thank you.

  • Tulips will come later...don't despair. Patience is the gardener's watchword. Next year rely on these to flower again, but plant some more just in case. Can you imagine a Spring without spring flowers...worse even than this one! Happy flowering

  • Thanks for your advice everyone. I've been wondering what to do with all my daffs that have now finished flowering so now I know!! image

    PS. Should I dig up my agapanthus roots and plant them in pots instead of in the borders?? I have three that are just showing green shoots. The soil here is like clay and doesn't drain well. I'm a novice too!! Thank you.

  • PhaidraPhaidra Posts: 567

    I have never grown fritilarias before but have always loved them in other peoples' gardens.  As my soil is almost pure chalk, I thought it wiser to avoid them.  However, my daughter has just given me 100 bulbs!  The question is, should I even think of putting them in the garden soil or would  they only survive in pots?  I think I would find the latter a bit of a faff. image

    I should be most grateful for your help and advice.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,352

    Which fritillaries have you got?

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • PhaidraPhaidra Posts: 567

    Hi Nutcutlet, they are fritillaria meleagris.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,352

    Hi Phaidra, we're not chalk but very alkaline and they do OK here. They grow naturally in water meadows and moisture will be more important than soil type. They can cope with a winter drowning. Once dormant in summer the need will not be so great. Or, at least, that's what I assume from how they perform here.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
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