The Q&A Archives: Cutting The Leaves Off The Bulbs

Question: My tulips, hyacinths & crocuses all bloomed. This is the first time I ever planted bulbs. My neighbor told me that I should cut the leaves after the flower (not the leaves) were dry & I did. Did I do the right thing or should I have waited for the leaves to die on their own? Because I the leaves, would this prevent any future bloomings?

Answer: It is okay to remove the spent flowers and flower stems as soon as they fade but the leaves need to grow as long as possible and then be allowed to fade and dry naturally before you remove them. This (ugly) phase replenishes the bulb so it can bloom again next year. The bulbs will probably survive but may not bloom very well next year since they were a bit shortchanged by trimming the foliage. The following year they should be back to normal.

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