For best blooms just let bulb foliage fade away

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog bulb foliage 4I don't think there's anything uglier than daffodil foliage fading away. This is in the very front of the house on the entrance walkway. On the other hand, when the flowers were in bloom, there was nothing more beautiful. Photo by Doug OsterThe colorful flowers from spring bulbs are gone and what's left is less than appealing.

The remaining foliage must be left to wither, turn brown and fade away. As the leaves change color they are sending essential nutrients back into the bulbs.

This is the the cycle which keeps most bulbs blooming season after season. It's also the worst part of bulb season as gardeners desperately look for ways to mask the ugliness of the foliage.

For me, it's easy. When there's something unappealing in the garden, I look at something beautiful a few feet away. Not everyone can be so cavalier. Sometimes daffodils leaves will be weaved together as a way to make them look a little neater. It's purely aethstetic, but like everything gardening, there's a 100 ways to do each job.

One good trick for daffodils is to plant daylilies in the same area. As the daff foliage fades, the daylilies sprout to hide the brown and yellow leaves.

If it's really driving you crazy, just remove what's left and hope for the best.

I wait to remove the foliage until it can be pulled off the plant without resistance.

Keeping the leaves attached to the bulbs as long as possible with help the bulbs thrive.

You'll be thrilled next spring that you waited out the ugliness of those leaves.

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