The Q&A Archives: No blooms from bulbs

Question: I bought a house in the country and there is folage, what look like Iris, which has come up with lots of folage but no blooms. The bulbs have been in the ground for years, is there anyway I can get them to bloom again?
Dee Dee

Answer: Based on your decription I am not certain which type of plant you have. It can be difficult with a new-to-you garden sometimes to identify all of the plants and determine the best way to care for them.

If these are iris plants, they may need to be divided and reset into enriched soil to grow vigorously and bloom again. Bearded iris can be divided now or in mid summer. If they are Siberian iris, it would be better to wait until the fall to divide and replant.

If this is your first year in the house, you may want to wait through the season to see if they bloom later; it is still a bit early for some iris to have bloomed yet.

Also, there are some summer blooming bulbs such as Lycoris that send up spring foliage then die back, and eventually bloom in late summer. Perhaps this is what you have.

Another possibility -- since it seems like iris foliage -- is that you may have an old planting of gladiolus. The foliage looks quite similar, but this is a corm rather than a surface growing rhizome like iris. If you have glads, you could lift them in the fall and save the largest corms for replanting the following spring.

For all of these, a top dressing of compost now along with a general purpose granular fertilizer or slow release fertilizer such as 10-10-10 would help build the plants' strength, as would an occasional deep watering in times of drought. I hope this helps you renew your garden!

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