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Sunday, July 21, 2024 at 12:07 PM

Garden of Edith -- Fading Flowers

Garden of Edith -- Fading Flowers
by Edith Isidoro-Mills -- Spring flowering bulbs like daffodils, tulips, and crocuses are starting to fade.  When all these spring flowers fade the question is “What to do with the leaves?”  The answer is, “Don’t cut them until they turn yellow”. Green leaves make the carbohydrates stored in the bulbs to form next year’s flowers.  Cutting back these leaves before they turn yellow lessens the chances that the bulb will survive the summer and winter to produce a bloom next year.  Only the stalks that bore this year’s flower should be removed to prevent seed from developing and using up the resources needed for next year’s bloom. Once the flowers are gone the remaining green leaves can be unsightly and the temptation to cut them overwhelming.  Instead resist this urge by inter-planting among the bulbs with either tall growing annuals or some perennials.  One disadvantage of planting perennials is that they will also have to be dug up every few years when the bulbs become crowded and need replanting.  However, this disadvantage may actually be a blessing because the perennials can be divided at the same time to create more plants. After the leaves of spring bulbs turn yellow the bulb goes dormant for the summer.  Roots die back and will not start to form until next fall.  Any time during this period of dormancy the bulbs can be dug up, divided and stored in a cool, dark, dry location for replanting in the fall.  In other regions of the country where summer temperatures don’t get so hot, cool storage might be easier to accomplish but here in Churchill County, unless you have a basement or are willing to sacrifice a portion of your air conditioned house, I recommend waiting until fall to dig up and replant bulbs that become crowded.  Bulbs should be replanted every four to five years or when they no longer bloom in the spring. If you decide to dig up bulbs before fall, they will need to be stored no more than three deep, in a dark location with good air circulation and a temperature that stays between 50°F and 70°F until fall planting.  Stacking the bulbs or placing them in a location with poor air circulation can result in rotting bulbs.   Support local, independent news – contribute to The Fallon Post, your non-profit (501c3) online news source for all things Fallon. Never miss the local news -- read more on The Fallon Post home page.