Move Bulbs While You Can Find Them

The leaves of most daffodil, tulip and other spring flowering bulbs are now turning from yellow to brown. The leaves can be easily and safely removed now without disrupting the development of next year’s bulbs. However, if they have become too thick or shrubs have grown over some of them, now is the time to dig and replant the bulbs. If you wait until fall, you probably will not be able to find them. The new bulbs for next year are now fully developed and are going into dormancy.

Bulbs naturally multiply as new bulbs are developed. Most daffodils need to be dug and spread out about every 3 years. Tulips and other bulbs need thinning about every 5 years. Simply dig them up with a shovel and respace them so bulbs are 3 to 5 inches apart.

You may find that you need additional space to plant the extra bulbs. Shrubs make excellent background for bulbs, so you may want to create a new bed in front of a shrub planting. Bulbs can also be planted between annual flowers such as petunias, marigolds or petunias. Simply dig holes between plants for individual bulbs with a hand trowel.

I also like the look of bulbs coming up and blooming in ground cover beds like ajuga or kinnikinnick. It is more difficult to find space between groundcover plants than annuals. I sometimes remove a piece of ground cover to insert a bulb.

Don’t forget to fertilize with a bulb or general purpose fertilizer when you plant.

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