Garden Tip 83:
CARING FOR TULIPS AND DAFFODILS AFTER FLOWERING
Last week we spoke of pruning spring flowering shrubs right after the flowers have passed. The same can be said of spring flowering bulbs. Tulip and daffodil flowers are now going by and should be removed. It is important when removing the old flower to remove the seed pod at it’s base at the same time. This improves the look of the plant and ensures that the energy and food produced this year will go to the bulb and not to the seed.
The simplest way to remove the flower and seed pod is by pinching it off with your thumb and finger or with a sharp pair of pruners for a bit more speed. The green flower stalk can remain as it aids a bit in photosynthesis and the production of food for next season. Foliage generally turns yellow and brown and can be removed in four to five weeks.
Daffodil foliage will typically collapse and lay flat long before it turns yellow. Some folk bunch or braid these together for a better appearance in the garden but it is best for photosynthesis to let them lay out. It is a good practice to plant these bulbs away from the edge of the garden bed, behind perennials that will be green and growing as the bulb foliage turns yellow and brown. Old foliage is “ripe” for removal when leaves break off at ground level with a slight tug.