Do you ever get frustrated by all the dead leaves your spring bulbs leave behind? Resist the strong urge to cut back your foliage. First, read more about when to cut back spring bulb flowers and leaves.
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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.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO RESIST CUTTING BACK BROWN LEAVES
According to www.thespruce.com, eight weeks is a good rule of thumb. That means bulbs that emerged and 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 though the remainder of the year, and set new bulbs.
DON’T TIE THE LEAVES INTO BUNDLES
During this process, the leaves need to be exposed to sunlight, in order to be able to photosynthesize. Resist tying them up, bending them over or braiding them.
HOW TO TELL IF LEAVES ARE READY TO CUT BACK
If you are unsure as to when to cut 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
The Spruce advises you to feed your bulbs when they first pop out of the ground. Feed them while they are building up energy to store. There are special bulb fertilizers that have a high percentage of phosphorous. Bone meal is another option.
HOW CAN YOU SPRUCE UP YOU GARDEN?
I tend to tuck my bulbs in between evergreen shrubs and early spring growing perennials. This helps hide the brown leaves. Planting bunches of early blooming annuals, such as primroses and pansies, around the spring bulbs, can also help distract from the spent foliage.
I hope that clears up the timeline for cutting back your spring bulb flowers and leaves. For more gardening tips for May, click here.