Double flowered daffodils
Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas

What Do I Do When My Spring Bulbs Have Finished Flowering?

Have a superb show of bulbs in Spring by caring for last years bulbs

Spring bulbs can finish flowering anytime between March and May. Do not cut the foliage off, it needs this to build up a store of food and a flower for next spring. The foliage has to die down naturally. This information does not apply to tulips as you get a better show if you plant new bulbs each year; if left they tend to become weaker and weaker. They do produce small offset bulbs but these can take up to 5 years to reach a size which will produce a decent flower.

For 6 weeks after the bulb has finished flowering keep on watering and feeding with a general purpose fertiliser such as Growmore or feed the bulb with a high potassium feed, such as Tomorite, from early spring. Take off any remaining flower heads so the bulb puts its energy into producing a good bulb and not into seeds. Some gardeners do not believe that you need to do this to daffodils. Don't tie the foliage up, just leave to go yellow. I know it looks a mess and if this is a problem one solution could be to plant the bulbs in plastic pots then sink the pots into the border. These can then be lifted and put to one side and the hole it leaves will be ready for another plant. Make sure the bulbs don't dry out as this will affect the flowering next spring.

Mixed bed of tulips & narcissi

Once the leaves have gone yellow take the bulbs up, clean off all the excess vegetation until you are left with a clean, firm bulb. Discard any that are soft, small or showing any sign of mould. Keep cool and dry in a paper bag or one of the nets which you buy oranges in; remember to keep out of the reach of mice. If bulbs are being left to naturalise just tidy up the yellow foliage.

The small offset bulbs can be grown on to produce a good size bulb, but it will take several years. Just follow the instructions above and remove any flowers which form until the bulb has reached a good size when it will produce a good flower.