Plant flowers between bulb leaves

The leaves of my daffodils and tulips are sprawled all over the ground and look messy. Can I remove leaves now without harming next year’s bulbs?

There are several ways to deal with sprawling bulb leaves. You should not cut them all off this early. The green leaves are still producing food to develop next year’s bulbs. You can fold and gather them into bundles and wrap them with a rubber band. I usually cut them down to 3 to 5 inches which is adequate for new bulb development.

Plant between bulbs

You do not need to wait until bulb leaves are gone to plant summer flowers. Simply dig holes between bulb leaves for the roots of new flower plants. If you dig up an occasional bulb, just dig a hole and place it back in the ground,

In addition to annual flowers like begonias, impatiens, petunias and marigolds, consider planting ground covers. Ground covers are low growing perennial flowers which spread and fill in to produce a permanent covering. Many ground covers produce flowers for varying lengths of time. Most also keep their leaves through the winter, giving green color year round.

Bulbs like daffodils will grow right through the ground covers and bloom year after year.

Some of the best ground covers are ajuga, lamium, snow in summer, vinca or periwinkle, kinnikinick, sedum, and mazus. Remember, ground covers need to be trimmed periodically to keep them from growing into areas where you do not want them. Line trimmers work well to keep them in bounds.

Move bulbs in June

When bulbs become too thick or are overgrown by shrubs, the best time to move them is in June. Dig them after the leaves have started to turn yellow and brown. If you wait until the normal fall planting time for bulbs, you will either forget them or won’t be able to locate them. They can be dug, separated, and replanted in a new location immediately.

Apply slug bait when planting flowers and vegetables

Slugs and snails are plentiful in our moist climate and can quickly devour newly planted flowers and vegetables. They hide in the soil during the daytime and feed at night. Apply slug bait around perennials such as Hostas and when planting new annuals and vegetables. Baits containing metaldehyde are the cheapest. Baits which contain iron phosphate are safe to use around children, pets and wildlife. Bait not eaten by slugs and snails will degrade and become part of the soil. Deadline is another very effective product for snail and slug control.


Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture.

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