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Saturday, 2 May 2009

Recharge Your Bulbs

Bulbs come with their own power pack. They stored the energy to put on a good flower display during last year’s growing season. Now they need to recharge for next year.

My parents had the strange idea that daffodil leaves should be tied in knots when they finished flowering. It’s better than cutting the leaves down but it’s still not good practice. Extensive trials by the Royal Horticultural Society have demonstrated that daffodils perform best the following year when the leaves are allowed to die down naturally. The same principle applies to tulips, hyacinths and all the other spring flowering bulbs.

Great simple advice but it’s not always totally practical. What if you planted daffodils and crocuses in the lawn for example? Try and hold off mowing for 6 to 8 weeks after the last flowers fade. Mow around the bulbs rather than letting the whole lawn go wild.

In tubs and window boxes, watching the leaves of spring bulbs slowly die is not a very attractive. What I do is to plant the bulbs in small pots in the autumn and sink them pot and all into the containers. Once they finish flowering, I can easily take them out the pots and let the leaves continue growing in a less conspicuous position. With a bit of care, most bulbs can be successfully moved in leaf. Another solution is to replant all the daffs and tulips from your window boxes in a large pot and give the leaves a bit of extra loving till they fade.
Written By Alistair Ayres

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