Do you ever get frustrated by all the dead leaves your spring bulbs leave behind? Resist the strong urge to cut back spent foliage because there are benefits to leaving them alone. Here’s more about when it’s safe to cut back spring bulb flowers and leaves.
It’s such a temptation to want to cut down all the brown leaves that your spring bulbs leave behind. Your garden can look messy and unkept. But if you are counting on your spring bulbs to bloom again next year, you will need to leave them be until they die off.
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I’m a self-taught hobby gardener, not a Master Gardener. Everything I share with you on my blog is my personal opinion and things that worked for me along the way.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO RESIST CUTTING BACK SPRING BULB SPENT LEAVES
How long should you wait before cutting back your spent leaves? Eight weeks is a good rule of thumb. That means bulbs that bloomed in April, need to be left standing until June.
After flowering, the bulbs need their leaves in order to photosynthesize. They will make and store enough food to get them through the remainder of the year and set new bulbs.
DON’T TIE THE LEAVES INTO BUNDLES
The leaves need to be exposed to sunlight in order to be able to photosynthesize. It’s better if you don’t tie them up, bend them over or braid them.
HOW TO TELL IF LEAVES ARE READY TO CUT BACK
If you’re not sure when you should be cutting down the spent leaves, test them. Gently pull the leave, and if it comes out of the ground without any resistance, the bulb has all the nutrients it needs for the next season and can be cut back.
WHEN IS IT SAFE TO CUT SPENT FLOWERS?
Spent flowers can be cut back to the ground after they have finished blooming. This will reduce the energy it takes from the bulb.
FEEDING YOUR SPRING BULBS
Feed your bulbs when they first pop out of the ground, and while they are building up energy to store. There are special bulb fertilizers that have a high percentage of phosphorous, or you can use a bone meal.
HOW CAN YOU SPRUCE UP YOUR GARDEN?
I tend to tuck my bulbs in between evergreen shrubs and early spring growing perennials. This helps hide the brown leaves. Planting early blooming annuals, such as primroses and pansies, around the spring bulbs can help distract from the spent foliage.
I hope this gives you an idea of when to cut back spring bulb flowers and their leaves. Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time,
Stacy at Bricks ‘n Blooms is sharing your tips on How to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors. She sowed so many different varieties of flower seeds this year. You will want to see all of her great ideas.