Gardening Magazine

Caring for Your Bulbs

By Mwillis
Some people buy new bulbs every year, but if you look after them properly, bulbs can last for many years. I have some bulbs which I would particularly like to last for a long time. They are the "Soleil d'Or" Daffodils which I bought in the Isles of Scilly two years ago. They remind me of my family roots - my father was born in Hughtown, St.Mary's.
Caring for your bulbs
The first year I grew them, the Soleils d'Or put on a great display, but this year one or two of them did not flower. They produced plenty of leaves but no flowers, a condition known as "blindness". Researching this I found that I had not been treating the bulbs properly after flowering. Caring for your bulbs When bulbs have finished flowering, there is always that temptation to just cut them down and move onto something else. In my case, the pot in which they have been grown would just get hidden away down the side of the house, where I keep my bags of compost and any stuff that is awaiting disposal. Once this happens, I would forget about the pot altogether and never give it any further care. Is it any wonder that the bulbs did not repay me with another year of good flowers?
THIS, however is Best Practice:-
1. Remove the old flower-heads, and do not let them set seed. Setting seed reduces the vigour of the parent plant.
2. Do not cut off or (worse) tie in knots, the leaves. Let them die down naturally, returning their energy to the bulb.
3. Feed the bulbs a couple of times with a general-purpose fertiliser.
4. Keep the bulbs moist (i.e. water the pots) until the foliage has died down.
5. When the foliage has all gone dry and brown, lift the bulbs, clean them off, and store them somewhere dry, cool and dark until ready to plant them again. (Protect from mice!)
Caring for your bulbs
I shall be following this advice myself this year, so I look forward to seeing the results next Spring.

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