Q&As/Bulbs and Tubers/Continuation of Strong Bulbs

Question

This year, for the first time, I planted tulip and iris bulbs. There was a wonderful display of flowers. Now what do I do with the bulbs over winter?

Answer

The preferred option for maintaining tulips and iris in your garden is to leave them in the soil rather than lifting and storing the bulbs. This is due to the cooler climate. 

However, it is important that you let the leaves of the bulbs die down completely. They should be brown and desiccated before you remove them. The reason for this is that the leaves absorb the nutrients which will give the bulb the ability to flower the following season and it applies to all bulbs. The leaves will change colour; from green to a yellowing brown colour and finally brown which means they have died off completely. At this stage the dead leaves can be removed. 

To ensure you do not damage the bulbs in the ground, clearly mark where they are located, so that you can still safely plant summer annuals or summer flowering perennials in close proximity to your bulbs.

After a number of years, it would be advisable to lift the bulbs, especially the irises. Divide them and then replant. This will ensure the continuation of strong growing and flowering bulbs.

It is also worth side dressing the bulbs during the summer months with Daltons Premium Bulb Fertiliser along with some compost. Adding compost is especially important if your soil is on the heavy side.

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