Care and maintenance

Flower bulbs are low-maintenance plants. Many kinds of bulbs can even be left in the same place for years. They increase in number all by themselves by producing seeds or by spontaneously producing more flower bulbs. This process is called naturalization. After so many years, daffodils, crocuses, winter aconites, anemones, snowdrops, squills and grape hyacinths can form an unbroken carpet of plants.

Other flower bulbs such as tulips and hyacinths will bloom profusely the first year after planting but produce fewer and fewer flowers thereafter because their bulbs gradually become exhausted. Botanical tulips, however, are an exception.

Here are some tips for enjoying your flower bulbs longer:

  • During a dry spring, provide late-flowering bulbs such as tulips, hyacinths, ornamental onions and irises with some water now and then. 
  • Once the flowers have faded, snip them off.
  • Don’t trim off the leaves right away. Instead, let the leaves and stem turn yellow (die back) first. This allows nutrients in the foliage to feed the bulb (if it is one of the kinds that naturalize) so that it can emerge again next year.
  • Provide flower bulbs that naturalize - such as daffodils, crocuses, squills, anemones, grape hyacinths and winter aconites - with fertilizer after they have flowered. Fertilizing stimulates the formation of flower buds during the summer months.