The days are finally longer and the weather is warming up. Gardens are in bloom and some of our spring blooming bulbs are finishing their displays. I always receive questions about what you should or shouldn't do after your spring blooming bulbs are done blooming – what can you do to help make sure that they are ready to go again for next year.
So here are a few pointers for taking care of your spring blooming bulbs after they finish blooming.
1) A great time to fertilize spring blooming bulbs is right after they are done blooming. Use a 5-10-10 or 5-10-5 at a rate of 2 pounds per 100 square feet or 1-2 tablespoons for smaller areas. Makes sure to gently work it into the soil.
2) Make sure to leave the foliage on for as long as possible. This allows the bulbs time to rebuild resources for next year. No matter how tempting it might be to remove it – let it be. Wait till the foliage turns yellow before removing. Usually this is about 6-8 weeks after the flowers have faded.
3) If any seed pods form on the plants after blooming make sure to remove them as it can often result in smaller bulbs.
4) Sometimes after a few years, flower production can decline from bulbs becoming too crowded and that is more likely the case with bulbs such as tulips. Every few years it's worth digging up and dividing them. You can carefully dig them up after the foliage turns yellow, separate the bulbs and discard the smaller ones and you can replant immediately.
5) When replanting bulbs make sure to plant at the proper spacing and depth. Larger bulbs such as tulips and daffodils should be spaced 6-8 inches apart and 6-8 inches deep. Smaller bulbs such as grape hyacinth and crocus should be planted 3-4 inches apart and 3-4 inches deep.