The Q&A Archives: Winterizing perennial flowers

Question: I planted several varieties of bulbs from Home Depot. On one bed I had Isias and Lilies. The lilies grew last year without flowers and never showed up this year. The Ixias didn't grow last year but grew tall this year and looked different from the picture on the package which shows various colored open blooms (the ones we had seem to be closed flowers and are all bluish). What do we do in fall? Do we need to cut the stalks down to ground level or just leave them as we did last year? What about other perential flowering bulbs? thanks

Answer: If your bulbs are struggling you might want to reassess their planting site and the winter protection you provide. Lily bulbs are quite hardy, but if the soil gets soggy and stays soggy all winter long the bulbs can suffocate. They also grow best in full sunshine and won't flower well if they don't get at least 8 hours of sun in the spring and summer months. I would cut the stalks down to ground level after they die back and then mulch over the bed with 4-5" of straw, pine boughs or shredded leaves to provide added protection this winter.

Best wishes with your bulbs!

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