I often notice when visiting gardens the great quantities of Daffodils and other early bulbs that we plant to herald in the spring. But how do we ensure we have a great display each year?
The early flowering bulbs
Quite a few seasoned gardeners have had their first horticultural experience by the planting of a few Daffodil or Tulip bulbs, thus spurring them onto more adventurous plantings. At the end of April, the very early flowering bulbs will come to the end of their blooming season. This group of early bloomers includes Daffodils, Hyacinths, Bluebells, Crocus, Snowdrops, and early Tulips. All these bulbs will flower well for any gardener the first growing season but for them to bloom well the following seasons we must give them some care.
Dieback not tieback
All bulbs leaves must be allowed a minimum of six weeks after flowering to die down, so if these bulbs are planted in a lawn that area of lawn must remain uncut for six weeks. Refrain from tying your Daffodil leaves in knots to neaten their appearance, also avoid folding them over and securing with rubber bands. If the bulbs leaves are naturally allowed to die back then they will take in the energy for next year’s flowering. I would also recommend nipping off the spent flower heads on bulbs once flowering is finished, this will prevent the bulb from using vital energy for seed production instead of using all that energy to bulk up its food store for next season.
Don’t forget to feed
The final tip for blooming bulbs next spring is to feed your bulbs, this is especially important if you have hungry soil. Apply a foliar feed to the fully emerged leaves before the blooms start to form. Choose a general-purpose liquid feed. I would also advise you to feed your bulbs just as the blooms have faded with a granular bulb fertilizer applied around the base of the bulbs. This is the most important feed they will receive. Ensure this feed has a higher potassium or potash content than nitrogen content. Apply according to the manufacturer’s instructions and heed safety warnings.