The Q&A Archives: Digging Tulips

Question: Last fall I planted a number of tulips, or so I thought. When they came up this year not all of them were tulips, some where hyacinths. Since this is the first time I've planted either, now that the flowers are fading should I cut out the flower & stem and leave the foliage? Also, when should I dig them all up if this fall I want to replant so that my flower garden looks the way I wanted it to?

Answer: You can safely cut back the flowering stems from your bulbs, but leave the foliage until it dies down naturally. The bulbs will need the foliage to produce the energy they need for next year's bloom. After the foliage dies back, lift the bulbs, brush off excess dirt, mark their identities, and store in a cool, dark, airy location, such as a garage or tool shed. In the fall, prepare the soil and replant.

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